Stalls help grow community spirit

The Hawea Food Forest has put up a produce stand at Camphill Road, Hawea Flat outside the coffee...
The Hawea Food Forest has put up a produce stand at Camphill Road, Hawea Flat outside the coffee cart. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Home gardeners with a glut of fruit and vegetables are being encouraged to donate to 10 community produce stands dotted around Upper Clutha.

The Wānaka Food Security Network set up the initiative in 2021 to increase people’s access to healthy food, while cutting waste.

The project encouraged people to share food which might otherwise go to landfill, Food Security Project co-ordinator Yvonne Walker said.

"The food pantries are managed by local people which fosters a sense of community and people can help support their neighbourhood," she said.

Ms Walker works from Wānaka Community Hub/LINK, where one of the 10 produce stands is located.

"With the high increased cost of living it has become apparent how many families are struggling to access food. 

"Our food pantries give our community access to food, a strong sense of community and reduces food waste."

Wānaka Wastebusters is a founding member of the network and also has a food pantry at their reuse shop entrance.

Wastebusters communication manager Ruth Blunt said the pantry network had grown since the project started.

"Community pantries are for everyone — whether you rescue some food by taking what you need, or by finding your nearest pantry and sharing your surplus kai, you’re helping the food sharing economy thrive."

The pantries are also used to share eggs, herbs, jams, preserves and baked goods.

The pantries can be found at the Wānaka Community Hub; Wānaka Recreation Centre; Wānaka Wastebusters;  Grow Wānaka, Albert Town; Sherwin Ave, Hāwea; Lake Hāwea Community Centre; Kanuka Corner Early Childhood Centre;  Sharing Shed, Hāwea Flat; Camphill Coffee,  Hāwea Flat; Hopkins St, Luggate.