One year cel­e­bra­tion


For one morn­ing a week, a Palmer­ston North church be­comes a veg­etable mar­ket. So­cial enterprise fresh food part­ner­ship Food­to­gether has clocked up its first year of op­er­a­tion out of St Matthew’s Church in Awa­puni.

Staffed by vol­un­teers, its not­for-profit fresh veg­etable hub op­er­ates ev­ery Thurs­day, pro­vid­ing its pre­paid cus­tomers with food di­rect from the markets in $12 value and $20 pre­mium or­ders.

Co-or­di­na­tor Kathri­ona Ben­vie said Food­to­gether was set up in July 2016 with the help of MidCen­tral’s Pub­lic Health Unit.

Along with mak­ing fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles ac­ces­si­ble, its pur­pose ex­tended to help build and strengthen com­mu­nity net­works and re­duce so­cial iso­la­tion.

‘‘It’s part of our out­reach into the com­mu­nity,’’ Ben­vie said.

Pick-up from the Col­lege St church is on Thurs­days be­tween 11am and 1pm, but the vol­un­teers are busy long be­fore that breaking down the bulk mar­ket de­liv­ery and fill­ing bags.

Ben­vie said they filled 18 or­ders for peo­ple in Pahiatua ‘‘where there are not a lot of op­tions’’, and for peo­ple in Fox­ton.

‘‘There’s a vege hub due to start up in Feild­ing, and there are hubs that have just started in Whanganui and New Plymouth.’’

It was the sort of enterprise that saw its cus­tomers be­come vol­un­teers.

Rose­mary Krsinich and her hus­band Frank, who are ve­gans, drove in from Ash­hurst ev­ery week to pick up their or­der and de­cided that if they were mak­ing a trip into town, they might as well stay and help out.

‘‘We’re quite into fruit and vege - we get through stacks of this stuff, and [Food­to­gether] helps with the cost.’’

Jo Chap­ple is a church mem­ber and on­col­ogy nurse at the hos­pi­tal. Not only does she help pack the or­ders, she de­liv­ers to the hos­pi­tal for those in the Roslyn, Ter­race End and Kelvin Grove ar­eas to pick up.

‘‘As a nurse, I’m keen to see peo­ple eat­ing fresh fruit and veges.’’

Oc­ca­sion­ally the vol­un­teer pool is strength­ened by Awat­apu Col­lege pupils and mem­bers of the spe­cial needs com­mu­nity, but Chap­ple said they could use more helpers, while new cus­tomers were al­ways wel­come.

Food­to­gether is on Neigh­bourly and Face­book, has a phone or­der app, and is at food­to­


Food­to­gether vol­un­teer sorters, left, Mel­la­lye Estall and Clare Wood­bury.

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