Last Thursday and Friday Good Neighbour hosted the AFRA (Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance) Regional Conference sponsored by Foodstuffs, with 32 representatives from the food rescue sector across the Central North Island attending. The aim was to bring together regional food rescue organisations to connect, learn new skills and ideas to take back to their organisations, and promote collaboration.
This hui was not only a fantastic opportunity to meet our fellow food rescue organisations, but also for our own Good Neighbour teams to work together to organise this event.
As one of three North Island regional hui being held last week, Good Neighbour hosted the conference and brought together 14 organisations who work incredibly hard to divert tonnes of food from landfill to feed their communities.
With representation from Foodstuffs including some local store owners, and presentations on topics such as managing volunteers, workplace employment law, marketing and communications and working to your strengths, each organisation was able to glean some new learnings and ideas to implement.
Being involved in the food rescue sector means kai is quite key to us, and that’s a bit of an understatement. Food connects us, it can bring great pleasure and forge close bonds. So, we asked our amazing chefs from the Good Neighbour Kitchen, Lee and James, to give it their all when it came to showcasing rescued food during the event.
Apart from providing mouth-watering kai, they shared inspiring stories on food preparation and preservation. Some examples of what they shared with us were: sauerkraut (fermented food story), dried fruit in salads (dehydrated fruit story), crostini from rescued bread (as a cracker alternative) and vinegar from waste grapes and other fruits.
Although the hui was about food rescue, our Good Neighbour Care team were intentional about making everyone feel safe and welcomed, knowing that some of the Gisborne attendees are still having to deal with what was going on back home.
Two months on from the devastating weather events of cyclone Gabrielle, that ravaged much of the east coast communities, it continues to plague emotionally and physically those that are having to pick up the pieces, especially locals who work in the food rescue and recovery sector.
Manaakitanga (generosity and care) and Whakawhanaungatanga (creating good relationships) is what Good Neighbour pride ourselves on. Some attendees mentioned that “I had so much fun these last 2 days, I was able to forget for a moment what was going on back home” to “Last night at my hotel, I got 8hrs sleep for the first time in months, because of the heaviness for my community I’ve had to deal with”.
We’re so grateful for having had the opportunity to meet others in the industry and we look forward to collaborating to grow the sector and educate communities on food that although may not be good enough to sell, is still good enough to eat.
This was a time of recharging and reigniting our passion for the food rescue sector.
At Good Neighbour we not only host one-off events (like the AFRA Regional conference), but our Care Team also runs weekly events like Coffee & Cake Fridays, Budgeting services and other social services. There is a booking facility to hire out the Care Junction space to organisations for small or larger meetings. If you have any further enquiries about events, please email [email protected].