As part of the 2020 NZ Food Awards sponsored by Massey University, several Horowhenua businesses have been nominated as Food Heroes.

Nominations close on July 31 for people or organisations that have supported the New Zealand food and beverage supply chain in some way during the Covid-19 response. These can be anything from transporting freight to fruit picking, manufacturing for the masses or a member of the community getting groceries for the elderly.

New World Foxton have been nominated for their support of the community during levels 4, 3 and 2. There weren't enough delivery slots available online for the elderly and more vulnerable in area.

A member of staff who was unable to work in the store offered to take telephone orders, and sort them in store order for easy picking. The owner and a senior management did deliveries in their own time six days a week opening up another 40 deliveries weekly.

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Staff organised collections of cash and food for charities who were struggling financially including Women's Refuge, SPCA and the Food Bank. The store gave generous donations to the RSA who were unable to hold their annual Poppy appeal during lockdown.

Staff worked hard to keep stock levels up in the store and managed the additional security and cleaning. Even when other retailers were able to open, New World Foxton organised a support local campaign where anyone spending in the local shops and cafes could put their receipt in a box in the store and for eight weeks, a $200 New World voucher was given to a supporting local shopper.

The nominator of the store said "the support of the community and rapid response to customer needs was wonderful and should be recognised."

Inside Woodhaven Gardens' washing facilities.
Inside Woodhaven Gardens' washing facilities.

Woodhaven Gardens in Levin are nominated for keeping more than200 people in work during lockdown by introducing strict health and safety measures. They provided their staff and families with free produce as well as donations to Levin charitable organisations.

The Baked Dane producer of Danish bread and crackers based in Hokio Beach are nominated for continuing to make their products and hand deliver them around the community. Their nominator said, "They are a small family business and have young kids but still got in there and kept their customers happy and sane during the lockdown." They made dough kits and posted tutorials on their Facebook page so families around New Zealand could have a go at making their own bread.

 Lisa Brink of Baked Dane.
Lisa Brink of Baked Dane.

Another Foxton retailer, Petal & Bee Grocers are nominated for being very supportive of their local community and being passionate about promoting health, organic food.

They offered free delivery from Himatangi to Waitarere and got their entire store online for ordering during level 4.

Their nominator said, "Small towns are often under-served for organics and wholefoods so we think Petal & Bee are food heroes for being such great ethical business owners in a small centre."

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Peta Cherry of Petal and Bee Grocers.
Peta Cherry of Petal and Bee Grocers.

Finalists will be announced on 31 August. For more information https://www.foodawards.co.nz #NZFOODHEROES