Bay of Plenty Kai Hui
Bay of Plenty Kai Hui - Locals have their say on the future of our food
United by food, more than 80 locals came together last Friday, to not only mark World Food Day, but to participate in the first ever Bay of Plenty Kai Hui. The landmark event built enthusiasm for a united approach to address current food challenges and opportunities across our local food supply chain, from paddock to plate.
The hui brought together people from diverse backgrounds to discuss innovative solutions and issues of importance in regards to all things ‘food’. Some of these included, improving access to healthy food for all, decreasing food waste, and shifting towards more sustainable and fair food practices. Local groups also made up an interactive community food panel discussion. This saw the likes of the Tauranga Farmers Market, Good Neighbour Trust, The Rock Papamoa Community Gardens, Brown Owl Organics and Plenty Permaculture discuss important skills like growing and cooking food, direct markets for local food, composting and soil health, low cost permaculture and organic practices.
Further group topics had a focus on strengthening the local community’s ability to survive potential future crises that could affect our food supply – with a push for the need to link community gardens efforts and grow more food locally on public land. Dr Matt Morris, a keynote speaker from Edible Canterbury, a community collective dedicated to creating a more resilient local food supply, acknowledged how important their local farmers markets became for accessing food immediately after the Christchurch earthquakes.
Among speakers, Emily Dowding-Smith, Transformation Leader, from the Sustainable Business Network provided an overview of the New Zealand food system and talked about the National Good Food Network, recognising similar work being done across the country. Tauranga City Council staff gave an informative presentation around policy development that supports local community gardens, and the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign. Dana Thomson, Senior Health Improvement Advisor at Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service acknowledged the complexity of the issues the health sector is grappling with, emphasising the need to work together with other sectors to address growing problems such as childhood obesity, increasing access to healthy food, and decreasing the abundant availability of unhealthy food, such as sugary drinks.
During the hui, attendees gave their overwhelming support for being part of an ongoing Bay of Plenty Kai movement. This will initially see a local food network set up in the Tauranga and Western Bay region with the aim of sharing new concepts, networking and collaboration, and inspiring others to make a difference locally. Watch this space!
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