Food co-op faces fund­ing cri­sis


A char­ity pro­vid­ing fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles to Porirua peo­ple is fac­ing a tough year.

Sal­lie Calvert co-or­di­nates Wes­ley Com­mu­nity Ac­tion’s Fruit and Vege Co-op, a not-for profit pro­gramme that brings fresh pro­duce to com­mu­ni­ties in the Welling­ton area.

She said changes in govern­ment fund­ing were threat­en­ing the role she oc­cu­pied.

‘‘There’s def­i­nitely the po­ten­tial for cri­sis,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re pushed, but we’re go­ing to sur­vive.’’

Wes­ley is ap­peal­ing for help to keep fund­ing the role of co-op co­or­di­na­tor, which costs $65,000.

Team man­ager Makerita Makapelu said the role was vi­tal to en­sure the co-op’s fu­ture.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t seem to re­alise there is no su­per­mar­ket in Porirua’s east,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to ac­cess fresh fruit and veges.’’

She said trans­port dif­fi­cul­ties could mean peo­ple on low in­comes shopped at dairies, which strug­gled to pro­vide af­ford­able, healthy food.

‘‘There’s 14 shops across the road from us and nine sell food that’s high fat and sugar.’’

A co-op co-or­di­na­tor was piv­otal be­cause the abil­ity to buy in bulk made the food af­ford­able, she said.

The scheme started in Can­nons Creek a year ago and seven other neigh­bour­hoods, in­clud­ing Ti­tahi Bay, fol­lowed.

By pay­ing a week in ad­vance peo­ple can opt into the scheme and buy fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles at $10 a bag.

Calvert co-or­di­nates more than 1100 or­ders of fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles weekly.

This week, 240 bags will be picked up by the Can­nons Creek com­mu­nity.

On Tues­days a truck picks up 7000kg of fruit and veg­eta­bles pre­ordered by Calvert.

After col­lect­ing the pro­duce, the trucks head to com­mu­nity pack­ing hubs, where vol­un­teers sort the food into bags that are col­lected by buy­ers.

Makapelu said the co-op was pro­vid­ing the com­mu­nity with what it re­ally needed.

‘‘Peo­ple re­ally want to pro­vide healthy food for their fam­ily.’’

She said the staff were de­ter­mined the co-op would be­come a long-term sus­tain­able model.

‘‘I hear from peo­ple how their diet is chang­ing be­cause we of­fer af­ford­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. Peo­ple want fresh food.’’

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