It’s time we truly disrupted the food insecurity status quo in Aotearoa. Dream with me for a bit whanau. What if we had a national network of social enterprise supermarkets, run by a partnership of churches, iwi groups, NGOs, and corporate stakeholders? What if this network was rooted in local communities, providing creative ways for poorer New Zealanders to pay for basic groceries via volunteering or time banking? What if these social enterprise supermarkets provided excellent options and solutions that middle New Zealand left the incumbent stores and were now shopping ‘for-the-good’ of others, breaking the supermarket duopoly in Aotearoa, and creating competition that benefits consumers? What if this national chain integrated with current innovations like Pataka Kai, community gardens, food in schools programmes and national food security bodies to bring true systems change to combat food insecurity?
These are some of the ideas raised in my short advocacy or ideas paper – Disrupting food insecurity in Aotearoa. These ideas are audacious. And they require massive amounts of commitment, collaboration, and courage to make them work. But in a country as prosperous, wealthy, and abundant with food, we should not be seeing the high levels of food hardship common today. For example, in 2020, The Salvation Army distributed over 113,000 food parcels across Aotearoa, almost double what we normally give in a year. Additionally, we saw an 84% increase in national food parcel provision in the week ending 28 August 2021.
This is simply not good enough. I acknowledge there’s lots of energy, innovation and work currently happening to address food insecurity. But with this report, I simply add some more daring disruptive innovations and ideas to the pot that I believe can truly eliminate food insecurity in our beautiful nation. Dream with me whanau. Ma te Atua e manaaki!