Food Security means Communities Feeding Communities

In Tāmaki Makaurau, on Mt Roskill Rd, PS Northern’s project Communities Feeding Communities is going from strength to strength.

The vision is for Presbyterian Support Northern, local Presbyterian churches, and Saint Kentigern Girls & Boys Schools to work together with the local Mt Roskill community to ensure access to affordable, nourishing food. Not only is there a Pātaka Kai (donated by Saint Kentigern’s Boys & Girls Schools, local churches, community, and businesses) but flourishing community gardens, composting for new soil, with both indoor and outdoor play and learning areas for kids on the CFC site.

Food parcels can only provide short-term relief for a couple of days: since the lockdowns of Covid 19, the flooding, and the cost-of-living crisis, we notice more and more families are lining up to receive them. PS Northern wanted to create a more sustainable pathway to lasting food security for these families. Communities Feeding Communities is their growing solution: an empowering way for communities to access food with dignity, gardening and regularly eating their produce together.

The Communities Feeding Communities vision is more than just providing food for families, it’s about feeding them spiritually and ensuring relationships are valued and supported, putting into practice Te Whare Tapu Whā model.

PSNZ’s National Executive Officer Dr Prudence Stone went to visit the CFC team in October, to see for herself how this initiative works. She was gutted to hear she’d just missed the St Kentigern School children who had been over earlier, committed to a food storage working bee. Kaibosh had delivered a donation of food that needed assorting and shelving for hungry families. The rest stocks the Pātaka Kai so passersby can also help themselves. Prudence was impressed with the students’ work leaving rows of food boxes and shelves full of stored food, but she was more blown away by the gardens.

“It was early spring, so I thought everything might be just shooting from the ground like in my garden. What a delight to walk around amongst such wealth of yummy produce!” said Prudence.

The CFC team has big plans to keep growing: A donated community building has been moved onto the site and is now under wraps, being renovated. The site will become Northern Presbytery offices, Family Works therapy, and budgeting service rooms, with a new commercial-grade kitchen going in the back opening out to the back garden and play area. While the builders were having their lunch break Anne Overton snuck Prudence in to take a look at the work in progress. Here’s a sneak peek to get everyone excited:

Thanks to Anne and the CFC team, dignity is being restored to the many households in the Mt Roskill area who are finding opportunities to learn gardening and cooking, harvest food together, as well as receive free advice about healthy food choices and ways to make their budget go further. With the Church Minister and Family Works counsellors also on-site, more opportunities to serve this community well are sure to blossom.

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