As the cost of living continues to soar, Food Secure North Canterbury and Satisfy Food Rescue are celebrating the generosity of CJ’s Plants in sharing their surplus pick-your-own feijoas with the community. 183 kgs of feijoas which would have otherwise gone to waste, were picked by Satisfy Food Rescue to redistribute to food banks, schools, and community organisations in their network.
“Collaboration is key to community sufficiency,” said Krysten Phillips of Food Secure North Canterbury, a project focused on building local food resilience. “We were thrilled to connect CJ’s Plants with Satisfy Food Rescue, and this partnership highlights the strength of working together. Rather than letting the feijoas go to waste, they can now benefit many in the community who may be struggling with the rising cost of fresh produce.”
CJ’s Plants’ feijoa orchard consists of approximately 300 trees that were originally planted to evaluate different feijoa varieties in the region and serve as a stock source for propagation. The orchard has now become a much-anticipated yearly destination for families to enjoy picking their own fruit. However, managing the harvest can be challenging, as different varieties of feijoas fruit at different times, resulting in excess fruit going to waste.
Jane Hayes of CJ’s Plants praised Satisfy Food Rescue for their work, saying, “I think we are all walking around at the moment complaining about the economy but not doing anything to help. These guys are already out there, helping the folks that have been in this worrying situation a lot longer than all of us.”
Satisfy Food Rescue’s Operations Coordinator Cameron Crawley and a few volunteers stepped in to collect the excess fruit. “Going out with a handful of volunteers was great, with many hands we made quick work of collecting the fruit. It’s very rewarding to get out into the community to do this kind of work and also connect with our amazing volunteers in addition to ensuring this source of food isn’t wasted.”
“Being able to harvest and donate fresh fruit is a lifeline for many of our recipient organisations who are struggling to meet the demand, “ says Fran Cain from Satisfy Food Rescue. “One of our local food banks who used to get five people in a week is now sometimes seeing up to five an hour. Where funding isn’t increasing to meet this need you can imagine how tough it is. The other bonus about receiving fresh fruit like this from CJ’s is that it is able to be given out through our neworks to an increasing number of homeless who are unable to utilise cooking facilities.”
Food Secure North Canterbury are calling on growers, harvesters, and community groups to help create a robust and sustainable food system that both increases access to healthy food for the community, and promotes zero waste.
Through the “Harvest Collaboration” initiative which was created by Food Secure North Canterbury and Satisfy Food Rescue, growers supply fresh produce, harvesters collect the produce, and processors process the excess produce if needed to create food with a longer shelf life (ie, preserves, jams, frozen stewed fruit). Satisfy Food Rescue is then able to distribute this excess to their recipient organisations that are doing the work to feed those in need. This collaborative effort sees the equivalent of 62,400 meals a year distributed to community organisations through harvested produce alone.
The Oxford & District Lions were the first group to connect to the Harvest Collaboration in late 2020. Food Secure North Canterbury funded seed potatoes and fertiliser for them to grow the produce. Since then the Oxford & District Lions have supplied a whopping 30,000kgs of fresh vegetables to Satisfy Food Rescue.
These community initiatives along with the kindness from growers like CJ’s Plants who don’t want to see their surplus produce wasted, are contributing to a massive community effort to make North Canterbury a more sustainable and food secure place.