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Food venture, Nourished for nil, filling a need

For Havelock North mums, Christina McBeth and Louise Saurin, zero food waste is their goal.

Having opened their brainchild venture, Nourished for Nil, only two weeks ago, they are already making a positive difference in the Hawke’s Bay community.

The project, which is staffed by a crew of 15 dedicated volunteers and six core members, redistributes food that was “destined for the bin” to anyone who wants, or indeed needs it.

“We launched on 14 February and in one week we served 323 people, rescued 690 food items and redistributed an estimated 40kg of fruit. We are extremely proud of that,” Mrs Saurin said.

Mrs McBeth believed it had gone smoother than they had anticipated, with numbers increasing to 451 people and 849 rescued food items in their second week alone, but still had “some kinks to work out”.

Currently based in Landmarks Square in Hastings, they operate from 4 to 6pm each weekday “rain or shine” and collect unsold goods from cafes and bakeries.

Twenty stores in Havelock North and Hastings have already jumped on-board the initiative, with 17 giving every day and Countdown Hastings donating their leftover bakery bread every Sunday and Tuesday.

McBeth said the model was operating in different parts of New Zealand, such as food rescue shops in Palmerston North, Auckland and Wellington and they felt the need to bring it to Hawke’s Bay.

Those benefiting from the scheme so far include “everyone from beneficiaries to backpackers to hungry growing teenagers”.

“It’s quite interesting really, we’ve had a mix of people. People think it’s aimed at a particular socio-economic group and sure it is, but it’s for anyone. We’re not worried about who takes the food as long as it is taken. Our focus is zero food waste,” McBeth said.

And while left over food was a rarity, they made sure it went to supporting organisations in the community, including Breakfast clubs in schools.

From America and the UK respectively, they met each other through social media in September of last year, after one floated the idea of creating the service.

The collective is already looking to the future, to a greater anticipated need and to next steps.

“We want to spread the word but with wider awareness will come an increased need for food items. We’re committed to two principles; No judgment – anyone who needs food, for whatever reason is fed, even if they don’t qualify for assistance elsewhere and we maintain an adequate supply of food items to service the need,” Mrs Saurin said.

They are eager to see what the future brings, hoping to grow the initiative and find a covered premise before winter.

“The support so far has been wonderful, and we can’t thank our food donors enough. But it’s a long game for us – we know we are only at the very beginning of this journey and that gets us really excited.”

Nourished for Nil have set up a Givealittle page for anyone who can’t necessarily donate time or food, but still want to help.

Published in Hawke's Bay Today.

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