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Bringing healthy food to our communities

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Healthy food will be cheaper to get in Awapuni, thanks to a new venture that aims to strengthen the local community starting on 28 July.

​MidCentral DHB’s Public Health Service has been working with St Matthew’s parish and Foodtogether to launch the first vege hub in Palmerston North, “Foodtogether Palmerston North - Awapuni vege hub”
Foodtogether operates in several New Zealand cities and is a social enterprise business offering great value, and supporting local communities with the profits.

For $12, people will get a bag of fruit and a bag of vegetables. The food is sufficient to go a good way towards feeding a family of four for a week.

Foodtogether will receive orders and deliver them to St Matthew’s Church where volunteers will pack them into bags ready for people to pick up.

The content of the bags will change every time depending on what was a good buy that day. The orders are then available to have to be picked up at St Matthew’s, 109 College St, on Thursdays between 11.30am and 1pm. The team is working on extending the pick-up times to enable people to pick up outside of normal work hours.

Pre payment is essential. People can pay online at by noon on Wednesdays before delivery on Thursday. If they want to pay by cash, ordering for the first time they can go to St Mathews on Thursday between 11.30am and 1.00pm to pay for delivery the following Thursday. Thereafter they can pay in cash when they pick up the previous order.  Anyone can take part in the scheme; they do not have to live in Awapuni to order.  

One of the instigators of the programme, Public Health Services Team Leader, Sharon Vera said: “The success of the programme in Wellington and other regions in getting people to eat more fruit and vegetables more cheaply made it something we wanted in our region.”

“Most New Zealanders would improve their health by eating more fruit and vegetables – particularly people on low income - and this programme succeeds in getting more vegetables into our diets. Hopefully by doing this, we will help reduce future demand on health services. We hope to start other hubs throughout Palmerston North and the whole MidCentral district. We are very grateful for the partnership with St Matthew’s as this enabled the programme to get off the ground.”

If you are interested in starting a vege hub in your suburb or town please contact Sharon Vera at the Public Health Service (06) 350 9110.

Reverend Rosie Dell, St Matthew’s, is delighted to be working together with the community. 

She said: “This will make a real difference in people’s health wellbeing, and is a real opportunity for people to get together as volunteers working for a common purpose.” 

Another benefit of the programme is in strengthening the community, hence the natural fit with a local church. We are looking for people to volunteer to help with packing; people wanting to help out, or find out more about the programme can contact St Matthew’s on 355 2254.

A vege hub member from Christchurch, Diane has had an excellent experience with the scheme.

She said: “Since I joined Foodtogether, the co-op has way exceeded my expectations. The fruit and vegetables are very fresh and the sheer amount provided for my $12 is so good. What I didn't expect as much was the sense of community I feel. I have joined the Facebook group where people share recipes and praise for the project. I would totally recommend and have recommended Foodtogether to others.”

Foodtogether  already operates in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland and Hamilton.    

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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