The Kai Ora-funded project for healthy kai at Raumanga Tongan Church Community Gardens in Whangārei.
Northlanders with a project to address a kai need in their community can get funding of up to $5,000 to bring the idea to fruition.
The Kai Ora Fund and its partners welcome applications from communities seeking support for initiatives that increase the availability of healthy kai and increase community resilience.
Community groups, whanau trusts, social enterprises and small businesses can apply for up to $5,000, with funding decisions to be announced in time for the first planting season in July.
Since 2015, the Kai Ora Fund has supported nearly 200 local projects and community activities across Northland to address food security. Each offers great holistic and social benefits.
“With the continued impact of Covid, unpredictable weather and rising costs, sustainable cultivation practices are critical to the well-being and kai sufficiency of our whanau and whenua,” said Daniela Johnson, who coordinates the Kai Ora Fund to Mahitahi Hauora.
“From Cape Town to Kaiwaka, projects are scattered throughout Northland. Many are in rural communities, where it can be difficult to find nutritious, local and affordable kai,” Johnson said.
The Kai Ora partnership includes (primary health entity) Mahitahi Hauora, Northland District Health Board, Te Puni Kōkiri, Far North, Whangārei and Kaipara District Councils, the Department of Social Development, Foundation North and Healthy Families Far North.
Since its inception, the fund has gone from strength to strength every year, with new partners joining and supporting the vision – “He whenua taurikura, he whānau houkura – Whenua abundant, whānau prosperous”.
“It’s more than funding; many of our projects benefit from the wider networks and connections developed when supported by Kai Ora and his dedicated partners. All funding recipients attend a Kai Ora workshop to network with others. other groups, are connected online for knowledge sharing, and are invited to participate in capacity building events throughout the year,” Johnson said.
Projects that engage multiple partners, show collaboration with hapu and iwi, promote equity and demonstrate sustainability are prioritized.
An example of this is the Northland Edible Garden Trail, with 13 inspiring edible gardens open to the public to meet gardeners, chat, watch, learn and be inspired to grow fruits and vegetables sustainably. The trail featured a wide variety, from small urban gardens to rural lifestyle blocks and commercial growers, and included demonstrations and workshops.
Many gardens are part of the Kai Ora network. The Northland Edible Garden Trail was funded by the Kai Ora Fund in 2021 and organized as a non-profit event by The Far North Resilient Communities Charitable Trust.
Other projects include support for the Tongan church community gardens of Raumanga, Totara North, Waimamaku, Ngunguru and Kaeo, community composting projects, research and promotion of the Free Fish Heads app, Marae Māra Kai and projects on Māori whenua.
The closing date for applications is June 1. For more information or to apply, visit https://www.mahitahihauora.co.nz/Kai-Ora-Fund or contact Mahi Tahi Hauora on [email protected] or (09) 438 1015.