Partnering for change

Increasing accessibility to affordable fresh fruit and vegetables has become easier thanks to a partnership between Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura and produce collective, FoodTogether.

The social enterprise provides fresh and affordable fruit and vegetables, purchased online, available for pick up across a number of Auckland locations.

Earlier this year, after hearing about the organisation through the Mangere East Hawks Rugby League Football Club, Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura trialled the services in Manukau.

“We wanted to know first-hand what the service provided,” says Coach Lesley Maipi. “Connecting FoodTogether and amplifying their reach has since become an important part of our nutrition work.”

The partnership helps achieve the vision for all South Aucklanders to be eating ‘5+ a day’, and the bolder goal of creating a healthy and sustainable food and drink environment in our community.

Connecting FoodTogether with other health partners, like Genetics Gym and the Big Boys and Big Girls programmes, was the start.

Progressing the relationship with large workplaces like The Warehouse and Frucor will see a roll out of the service with big employers in South Auckland.

One of the biggest achievements has seen the FoodTogether initiative adopted by four Auckland Council Leisure Centres who are now pick up points for fresh fruit and vegetable packages, furthering the council’s commitment to creating health promoting environments.

“We are excited to see the growth in Auckland and now in launching our south Auckland service,” says FoodTogetherFounder Craig Dixon. “We are grateful for the support of Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-papakura as we network together to make fresh produce even more accessible and affordability for all New Zealanders.”

FoodTogether has its roots going back over 20 years when the organisation saw a need in the local community of Christchurch around fresh food affordability and accessibility.

“As a result, we started as a community, a local produce collective that met the need of affordability but also in bringing people together. Since the Christchurch earthquakes FoodTogether has just grown from strength to strength as local communities are coming together to benefit each other.”

Strengthening community is the next step for this partnership. Helping some of South Auckland’s families, through Southseas HealthcareFoodTogether are in discussions to provide the service for families of children at risk of obesity related diseases.

“The partnership between FoodTogether and Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura has the potential to collectively reach more than 2000 families in South Auckland,” adds Maipi. “That is really exciting!”