Making an impact on food insecurity

With food insecurity a critical issue around the world, a new report from Healthy Families New Zealand is looking at how whānau can play a significant role in making changes to our own food system.

The National Kai Impact Report: Food System Transformation in Aotearoa showcases the impact that whānau-led initiatives have had across the country, including several from Healthy Families South Auckland.

Healthy Families South Auckland Manager Winnie Hauraki says the report explains how each initiative utilises the six conditions of systems change while demonstrating diverse and innovative approaches to kai. 

This includes The Good Food Road Map, a framework designed to improve the local food system in Aotearoa, coming at a time when food insecurity is a hot topic in the public sphere.

“With conversation beginning to grow around the concept of food security versus food insecurity there is a need for a framework that outlines those terms in a strategic way and that is what the Good Food Road Map is,” says Winnie.

“It’s about providing a starting platform for communities to use when navigating how to shift from food insecurity into one which caters to the overall health of its people.”

Other initiatives include the Healthy Environment Approach, an initiative designed to get better food equity outcomes delivered by various Auckland Council services like leisure centres and community grants, and the Papatoetoe Food Hub model concept which sees a circular economy model where surplus food is rescued from being wasted and turned into good affordable food for the community.

Papatoetoe Food Hub director Raju Ramakrishna has seen the impacts that a pandemic, and other global factors like climate change, have had on whānau in South Auckland. 

He says there is an immediate need to make shifts in the way we produce, distribute and consume kai.

“Tāmaki Makaurau cannot have people relying on food banks going forward.”.

“We have known that local food systems were broken even before COVID-19 and now it is even more important to influence the necessary policy and behaviour changes to achieve food security for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

The Papatoetoe Food Hub is currently educating South Aucklanders to understand how Auckland food systems work with its whenua to whenua programme. 

It has been achieved through community, public sector and private sector relationships all with the aim of reconnecting locals to their own food.

“We’ve shown a solution on a local level by working closely with Auckland Council teams, schools, community groups and businesses like the local New World Papatoetoe supermarket to demonstrate how food can be rescued from waste, upcycled, composted and grown to create new kai,” says Raju.

“It just shows what’s possible when everyone works together to tackle one of our toughest issues, food insecurity, in order to help our wider whānau.” 

The National Kai Impact Report is the first of a series of reports to be released by Healthy Families New Zealand this year.