ROTORUA REVIEW: By Amy Childs
Beating hunger and improving health are big goals for a powerful group of Rotorua organisations hoping to establish a Local Food Network in the city.
Growing food in public spaces and supporting local food producers are two of the ideas put forward by the group as it works to create a sustainable local food system. This initiative will be run jointly by Healthy Families Rotorua, Toi Te Ora Public Health and Rotorua Lakes Council, but they need the help of everyone in the community to make it work – especially those involved with producing food. Food growers, hunger relief charities, chefs, educators, restaurants, supermarkets and others involved in the food industry are invited to attend the first meeting next Wednesday. Healthy Families Rotorua health promoter Jasmin Jackson said they wanted to get people together to share their ideas and visions. From there, action teams will form with the aim of improving health, local business and sustainability in the community.
“My hope is this initiative will allow us to increase access to affordable healthy food like fruit and vegetables, especially for those families who can least afford it.”
Early plans included more fruit trees in public spaces, community gardening, cooking classes, and support for local food businesses and farmers.
“At present, healthy food is not accessible to many people, either because of price, location, or because they don’t know how to cook healthy food that tastes good.”
She said the community needed to work together to effect the change.
“The Christchurch earthquakes taught us a lot about the importance of a local food system that is resilient and sustainable. We want to create an opportunity for Rotorua to have a local, resilient and sustainable food system too.”