Words by Vicki Ravlich-Horan
In an ideal world, food would never go to waste. It’s estimated though that one third of all food produced does, and it is at the end of the cycle, in our kitchens, that the majority of the waste happens. Your parents were right when they admonished you for not finishing your dinner when there were starving children in Africa. While not wasting food in your household may not help the starving, it will save you money which could be donated to a good cause. One such organisation that would love your donation to continue their work is Kaivolution.
Based at the Waikato Environment Centre, Kaivolution started when some key funders heard a presentation by Kaibosh, who run a similar food rescue programme in Wellington. Enthused, a feasibility study was undertaken and with structures already in place, Ruth Seabright, the manager of the Waikato Environment Centre, says they put their hand up to run it.
In October last year “we were off” says Ruth. “We didn’t quite know what to expect” she admits “and that is still the case” says Simon Gascoigne. “Every day is different.” They could get pallets of tinned tomatoes and kilos of lettuce one day to a bag of lemons the next. Simon is Kaivolution’s coordinator and chief driver of their refrigerated van. The refrigerated van is crucial as it means Kaivolution can collect and distribute more perishable foods, like fresh produce, dairy and meat. This increases the number and types of businesses that can donate, ultimately increasing the amount of food saved.
In the first eight months alone Kaivolution rescued 50,000kg of food. The ethos is simple: ensuring good edible food doesn’t go to landfill before someone else could benefit from it.

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The food is donated by local businesses and individuals with Kaivolution being able to pick up six days a week. It is then sorted and distributed to over 40 charities. Simon tells me the women at the night shelter are amazing at how they can create a meal out of nothing, so even blackened bananas are welcomed. As we are talking, Sione Tu’akoi from St Vincent de Paul’s Good Neighbour Projects arrives to pick up fresh rolls that have been donated from a local supermarket. Sione, who helps feed up to 500 people a week, says Kaivolution has been the answer to their prayers as they are able to put fresh, healthy food on the tables of those who otherwise would not get it.

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We get an equally warm welcome from Louisa at the Combine Christian Services Food Bank where the bread rolls Simon is delivering will be added to the sixty plus food parcels Louisa and her volunteers give out every week.
General Manager of Bidvest Fresh, Gus Tissink has been a supporter of the service ever since he took part in the feasibility study and believes there is plenty more scope to grow such programmes encouraging his suppliers to donate. Gus points out that many growers will plough crops back in if the price drops or they have defects, so advocates these businesses contact Kaivolution. “For us,” Gus says, “it’s usually a product our customer wouldn’t accept but still perfectly good, so it needs to be used very quickly, and Kaivolution has demonstrated on a number of occasions that their turnaround is actually really quick.”

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Want to help?

Go to www.kaivolution.org.nz to see how you can donate food or volunteer.
Or help Kaivolution to get another refrigerated van by donating to their Give A Little page www.givealittle.co.nz/profile/charity/kaivolution

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