A new charity called Fairgrow says it aims to help get fresh fruit and vegetables to Kiwis in need.
The charity will work with growers who can donate unsellable or excess produce. Fairgrow will also raise funds to purchase produce, such as marginal or unharvested crops.
Fairgrow was launched today by T&G Fresh.
"Covid-19 has turned many people's lives upside down and right now large numbers of Kiwis are finding it difficult to provide healthy and nutritious food to their families - and this need is outstripping what's currently being donated," managing director Andrew Keaney said.
Fairgrow would help by collecting surplus and donated fruit and vegetables from across its 1200 grower partners, as well as from its own business, "thereby building a community of growers and partners who have a bit or a bunch to spare," Keaney said.
It's estimated $872 million worth of food is wasted annually – representing 122,500 tonnes sent to landfill, Keaney said.
"We know addressing food insecurity will require everyone, including business, Government and community groups, to work together and take collaborative action," Keaney said.
"Fairgrow will help with this by also raising funds to buy produce when it's not in abundance or readily available, thereby providing Kiwis in need with greater availability throughout the year."
"Furthermore, at various times of the year, some produce might be left in the ground or on trees as it may not have a natural commercial home. Fairgrow will make financial contributions towards helping harvest and donate some of these crops."
In July 2020, T&G Fresh became a foundational partner of the New Zealand Food Network, which is a centralised hub, collecting and safely storing bulk donated food from producers and suppliers, and distributing it across the country to food rescues, iwi and charities.
"Using our existing infrastructure like our trucks, nationwide distribution network and cool stores, we'll efficiently aggregate donated produce from across the country, and work with our partners at NZFN, so they can get it out to communities who need it the most."
Peter Aarts, from Sundale Farms grows broccoli and potatoes in Pukekawa, South Auckland. He said he was proud to supply produce to Fairgrow.
"As third generation growers, we take immense pride in growing healthy vegetables. The last thing we want to see is any of this food go to waste."
"That's why we're incredibly proud to support Fairgrow with regular donations of broccoli, that way we can help address this critical issue in New Zealand."