Community groups, social enterprises and small businesses are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to $5000 from the Kai Ora fund, for initiatives that will boost the availability of healthy food around Northland.

The fund, a partnership between Mahitahi Hauora, the Far North, Whangārei and Kaipara District councils, the Northland DHB, Te Puni Kōkiri and Northland Inc, has supported more than 90 projects since it was launched in 2015, last year's recipients including school chicken runs, banana plantations and community food co-operatives.

The Food for Life Lunch at School project also received Kai Ora funding in 2018, to expand from schools in Whangārei to extend the delivery of hot lunches to Kaikohe East and West schools. And it's keen to grow the programme in Kawakawa, Moerewa and Kaikohe.

Schools and/or parents who are interested in the programme are invited to check out the Food for Life website and Facebook page, then contact Buddhi Wilcox for more information or help to get started.

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Daniela Johnson (Mahitahi Hauora) said a key part of Kai Ora was working together, and that included the partner organisations that funded the programme. Those seven organisations contributed funding and gave support to all projects, past and present, while funding recipients attended a Kai Ora workshop that linked them into what others in the region were doing.

"Even if you are not ready to apply this year, get in touch and we can find ways to help connect you with others in the community and experts who can help get things started," Ms Johnson added.

Applications close on March 23. For more information go to www.mahitahihauora.co.nz/Kai-Ora-Fund) or call Daniela Johnson on (09) 438-1015 or (021) 837-717.

For more information on the Food for Life Lunch at School programme go to www.foodforlifenorthland.org.nz/ or www.facebook.com/foodforlifenorthland/), or email Buddhi Wilcox (buddhi-manta@hotmail.com).