FoodTogether proves fruitful
If you have ever lived with a teenager, the likelihood is you can relate to the saying ‘to be eaten out of house and home.’
New Plymouth’s Vanessa Webber has three teenage sons and up until six months ago her fruit and vege bill was going up weekly.
By chance her friend threw her a lifeline, so-to-speak, when she shared some information about Foodtogether online.
‘‘I thought I would give it a go and I haven’t stopped,’’ Webber said.
Foodtogether is a social enterprise that runs nationwide and co-ordinates the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk from wholesalers. A network of volunteers then sort and pack it before customers collect their edible packs from churches across the region.
Now, the Webbers grocery bill has been chopped and their dining experience includes a greater variety of meals.
‘‘It has changed the way I cook - I’ve been exposed to different vegetables to what I might normally buy and challenged to cook different things and as a result we eat a wider variety of vegetables,’’ Webber said. ‘‘We eat what’s in season and we save money.’’
You don’t have to tick the low income family box, by sharing freight costs - the more people who sign up the better. As the enterprise grows it continues to add more to the range of fresh produce, and eggs were added to the list. Now a subscription service is also available for people to set up a standard order.
‘‘We’re not here to make profits but to grow a sustainable business that improves the lives of New Zealanders,’’ says local Foodtogether co-ordinator Lance Pilbrow.
Pilbrow said as well as offering the best price the scheme had taken off thanks to its volunteer base and the goodwill of local churches. Waste or food expiration is a non-issue because each week the stock ordered from the suppliers is made up from orders that customers placed.
‘‘So we don’t have food spoiling on the shelves,’’ Pilbrow said.
The system is simple but effective; customers order one of three different sized boxes ($15, $26.50 and $36.50) from the Foodtogether website by midday on a Tuesday, pay online, then collect their produce box from a local church on a Thursday. Pick up points are in New Plymouth, Inglewood, Waitara, Stratford and Opunake. Home delivery is available in New Plymouth.
Foodtogether’s Lance Pilbrow shows off some of the cheap fruit and veggies on sale.