By Raju Ramakrishna
The Food Hub is an innovating concept created to become a replicable model. Its kaupapa is about supporting food resilience by providing an alternative option for the community to access good and affordable food. The Food Hub aims to be a sustainable model, able to create direct employment and job opportunities in the area it operates, while: • Reducing food waste and waste of food • Increasing food security, food accessibility and food affordability • Promoting social inclusion, cultural diversity and community wellbeing • Incentivising community-led enterprises • Contributing towards sustainable food systems • Developing local food economy – supply and demand for good food The Papatoetoe Food Hub is the place where the concept was implemented and is operated by a true social enterprise, led by the community for the community. This social enterprise is operated by the Food Hub Collective and is one of the few options locally for quality, nutritious and delicious meals at reasonable pricing. It also provides an alternative for those who often find it difficult to buy all required ingredients within their budget. The Collective operates two cafes offering eat in and take away options five days a week, and is the only food business in New Zealand with an upcycled menu, rescuing surplus produce from private businesses and using those ingredients to create good and affordable meals and juices. The Collective recently launched the Whenua to Whenua project, where a composting and recycle station has been create on site to minimize waste and engage/educate local community. Some facts and figures: • Rescuing food from Papatoetoe New World since September 2019. Until June 2020 approximately 500kg of surplus food were rescued per week = approx. 15 tones in this period (considering that was no activity in Level 4 lockdown). • About 6000 meals (individual and family packs) and 1000 juices were sold in this period, feeding/benefiting approximately 8000 people. • In a Soup to School scheme over winter, approx. 2000 kids and adults were fed with soup made from rescued vegetables from Pukekoe farmers (about 1 tone of vegetables). Schools: Papatoetoe East, Papatoetoe West, Papatoetoe South, Holy Cross, Papatoetoe intermediate, Jean Batten and Allan Brewster Kauri Kids; + Papatoetoe Library and New World employees. • Whenua to Whenua is composting approx. 100kg of organic/food waste per week.