Encouraging ‘food sovereignty’

By Leah Te Whata

Dozens of community pantries have popped up across the country in a push to provide food to those in need. 

But is this solving the issue of food poverty?

Auckland-based charitable trust Whenua Warrior has another solution, to create pallet gardens alongside community pantries to encourage self-determination.

"That's to provide a little bit of understanding about what we can do to create our own food and my hope is that we can give that opportunity to families to see how little it actually takes."

The price of fruit and vegetables went up 12.8 percent this year.  Whenua Warrior Founder Kelly Francis says food sovereignty is the way forward.

"If we do reflect on what our tūpuna did, they survived without money so why is it that we have such a massive need now to be able to survive with money."

Whenua Warrior has helped two hundred and eighty families grow gardens but the work has only just begun.

"My hope is that I can open up the minds of our people to what we used to do to be able to survive and take away the stress and take away the financial strain and take away the disconnection with Papatūānuku."

The pallet garden and community cupboard collaboration will be rolled out first in high need areas such as Manurewa, Papakura and Mangere.