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News release

Wednesday May 25, 2016

Sustainability, it's a lifestyle

From 1 July 2016, the Wellington Fruit and Vegetable Co-op Collective will be moving into a sustainable phase with the addition of a levy to the weekly fruit and vegetable packs. The levy will allow the Collective to become financially self-sufficient and sustainable, going into the future. The Collective is planning to grow and strengthen by increasing the size of hubs. In addition it will start new hubs in communities, where easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables, is an issue.

The Wellington fruit and vegetable co-operative was piloted in 2014 in Cannons Creek as a partnership between Wesley Community Action, Regional Public Health, The Salvation Army and Corinna School. The aim was to increase the accessibility and affordability of fresh fruit and vegetables in Cannons Creek. This initiative was modelled on the Food Together co-operatives running in Christchurch designed by Craig Dixon who has shown great support by allowing us to pursue this idea for Wellington communities.

The evaluation of our pilot in 2014 showed a huge increase of fruit and vegetables uptake for people who participated in our pilot. With 33% of participants having five+ a day at the beginning of the pilot and 62% at the end. It also proved to be a more socially acceptable way for people to access healthy food, rather then going to community food pantries, giving some participants "pride" in providing this for their own families.

A partnership between Regional Public Health and Wesley Community Action was formed to provide small start-up grants, infrastructure and co-ordination following the pilot. This allowed the co-operative to move into a growth and start up phase from January 2015 - June 2016. The focus of this phase has been the growth and development, of a collective of hubs, in communities across the Wellington region.

Further partnerships were developed with a range of community organisations and there is now a collective of seven packing hubs (St David’s Church Naenae, Titahi Bay Community Group, Orongomai Marae Upper Hutt, St Paul’s Church Waiwhetu, Valley Church Wainuiomata and St Aidan’s Church Miramar). Attached to the packing hubs are approximately 20 distribution hubs, collectively providing over 1000 orders of fresh fruit and vegetables to over 4000 people across the Wellington region every week.

The Wellington Fruit and Vegetable Co-op Collective commitment is to provide the freshest, best quality and most affordable fruit and vegetables to Wellington communities.

ENDS

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