Hawke's Bay woman Diana Greer has won the Cuisine Local Hero award for developing the Collective Hug group, which distributed food parcels to the rural community during the drought.
Greer was one of seven winners at the Gala for NZ Food Heroes, which took place on October 8 in Auckland. The awards drew from NZ Food Awards, to celebrate unsung heroes who helped support others during Covid-19 lockdown.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview Diana Greer on The Country below:
The goal of the Collective Hug was to visit and support as many farmers as possible, and show appreciation for the rural sector during a distressing time in drought and Covid-19. Greer said winning the award was "amazing – but it's not just for me, it's for all my team".
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The Collective Hug began in Central Hawke's Bay in May this year during alert level 2. It started with Greer baking fruitcakes for a raffle to help out farmers, but quickly grew into an empire of people volunteering around Hawke's Bay.
"We had a lot of people offering to help. It was very spontaneous! It started as just something small to help local farmers, but it just snowballed from there."
Greer made a post on the Hawke's Bay Drought Facebook page, asking for food and baking to be donated.
She received hundreds of donations around the North Island, including vehicles with full tanks of fuel for deliveries.
The group did the original run in May, and a second in July. Greer said it took 15 hours to organise the maps for 55 drivers in the July run.
"It was great just seeing the love and empathy from everyone involved."