Applications open for funding to support healthy food initiatives in Northland

Thursday 4 February 2021

Kai Ora - Growth in the garden since planting - February 2021 - Copy - Copy.jpg

Applications are now open for funding that will help whānau and communities access healthy food in Northland.

Through the Kai Ora Fund, community groups, social enterprises and small businesses can apply for up to $5000 to support initiatives and projects that create accessible, affordable and healthy food supplies in our region.

The Kai Ora fund has been operating since 2015, and is a collaborative partnership between Mahitahi Hauora, Far North District Council, Whangārei District Council, Northland District Health Board, Te Puni Kōkiri, Kaipara District Council, Northland Inc, the Ministry of Social Development and Foundation North.

Over the last five years the fund has supported over 130 projects with around $426,000, targeting communities where it’s hard to find nourishing, local, affordable food.

Mahitahi Hauora Wellbeing Health Promotion Coordinator (Kai Ora) Daniela Johnson said: “We’ve seen some fantastic projects developed with the help of Kai Ora funding over the years, and we know that this year will be no exception.”

It is great to see the progress of past projects.  This year, after a year of planning and organising, Te Kōhanga ki Ngāraratunua is finally harvesting the rewards from their hard work after receiving funding in 2019.  Led by Mere Malcolm, the whānau have created a food forest using both mātauranga Māori and syntropic planting methods to help support the whānau and local hapū.  The garden spans 200 square meters with over 1000 plants. 

“Installing this living syntropic maara kai on our papakainga whenua has strengthened us as a whānau, honouring our ancestors gone before us and planning for generations to come,” said Sean Malcolm, one of the instigators of the garden. “The garden is empowering people back into purpose and passion, and is a space of knowledge and change that respects the water, air, soil and community long into the future.” 

The support from Kai Ora has been a step in enabling this project to progress. 

Daniela is expecting a lot of interest in the fund this year, as communities reflected on life during COVID.

“Lockdown helped many people realise the importance of being able to access healthy food and many have embraced gardening,” she said. “People also saw the importance of supporting local businesses and community projects so our communities are resilient and thrive – these are things the Kai Ora Fund is aiming to support and promote.”

Successful applicants will not only receive $5000 to support their mahi, but will also get the opportunity to connect with and receive support from the partner organisations and other Kai Ora projects.

“A key part of Kai Ora is working together. That includes the partner organisations that fund the programme, the projects past and present who are funded, and networks and connections developed during the year. Groups that receive funding attend a Kai Ora Workshop, to network with others and are invited to participate in learning and supportive events during the year,” Daniela said.

The closing date for applications is 24 March 2021.    For more information please see the Kai Ora Fund page, or call Daniela Johnson on (09) 438 1015 or 021 837 717.