Fair Food is excited to announce that Tracey has been chosen as a Local Hero finalist from Westfield St Lukes. Fair Food is eligible for a generous donation of $20,000. Thanks to everyone who voted for us or spread the word. We will find out the results in October.

Tracey’s nomination has been featured in the New Zealand Herald, on Te Ao News, and on 531pi.

Here’s what Westfield had to say about Tracey’s nomination as a finalist:

Tracey works tirelessly to provide free fresh food for people in need across Auckland. Tracey is Head of Operations and Relationships at Fair Food, which provides ingredients for 34,000 meals a week. Tracey works with her team and many partners to ensure the correct food gets to where it is needed on time.

If Tracey is successful in the community vote, Fair Food will use its funds to source ingredients for thousands of meals and to cover distribution costs.

“Mandarin oranges used to be in every packed lunch this time of year. Now, at about $1 per mandarin, they’re almost a luxury item for low-income families trying to stretch their grocery budgets,” says Fair Food General Manager Michelle Blau. 

Fruit and vegetable prices are 22 per cent higher than they were last year. The gap in access to fresh food has increased considerably since many home gardens were damaged in the extreme weather. 

Auckland food rescue hub Fair Food urges people with fruit trees to donate their surplus citrus to a local food rescue organisation to help feed people this winter. Last month, Fair Food shared 57,615 kilos of rescued food, but it is still not enough to keep up with the growing demand for help, especially among people working full time. 

“One bag of oranges might not seem like a lot to someone with a backyard of trees, but for us, it’s a whole classroom of kids that now get morning tea.”  

“Even grapefruit is welcome at Fair Food. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but we provide the fresh ingredients for a day’s worth of meals for 1600 people every single day, so we will find a family for whatever you’ve got in your garden. Last winter, we were able to help hundreds more families thanks to donations of homegrown fruit. 

“We’ve partnered with a local rest home to learn recipes for chutneys and marmalades to share the wisdom of our kaumatua while we feed our home community. Volunteers or their home preserves are also always welcome in our zero waste Conscious Kitchen. 

“Some people haven’t had a piece of fruit in weeks, and others have it rotting in their yard. If you’ve got citrus to spare, now is the perfect time to share it. If you can’t get to a food rescue hub, then at least meet your neighbours,” encourages Michelle.

The Auckland Council kerbside food scraps service has been a popular topic around our kai tables. Maia stopped Tracey (Fair Food Head of Operations & Relationships) for a few minutes to get her thoughts. 

Since the food scraps bin has been introduced into Tracey’s household, it has significantly decreased the amount of kai going into the landfill in her whare. 

Tracey lives with her partner Joe. Over the years, she has perfected portion sizes for her and Joe. If there are leftovers, it will be used as lunch the following day. Almost nothing goes to waste. Yet, they used to fill their rubbish bin weekly, spending $4.80 on bin tags every week. 

Even though it’s just the two of them, they host a lot of people at their house and always make sure everyone is well fed. “In our household, our whole family and social time revolves around kai, it brings everyone together” says Tracey. Since having the food scraps bin, their landfill bin only goes out on the curbside every 2-3 weeks, saving them over $120 a year!

Tracey says, “When everything goes into the same bin, you can miss what’s actually going to waste.” When separating the food scraps from the rest of her rubbish, Tracey noticed how much soft plastics were going into the landfill. Soft plastics cannot be recycled in the recycling bin because they’re too small and get tangled up in the machines. 

Tracey now takes her soft plastics and recycles them at her nearest recycling soft plastics station.

Tracey couldn’t believe how easy the food scraps bin is to use. If she knows there will be lots of off-cuts or scraps, she will pop them into an old ice cream container and then transfer it into the white bin afterwards to keep her cat out of it! 

Tracey said she’s been lucky because the bin doesn’t smell. Although you can, she doesn’t usually put any wet items in the bin, so it’s been fine. 

She always ensures they always put on a good feed and take pride in making sure they feed the whānau, and that everyone leaves with full bellies and extra kai for later. The relationship between social time and food is important for maintaining connections with her children and grandchildren. The food scraps bin is good for the parts of kai that people don’t eat, like citrus peels and bones. 

With the cost of living crisis, it feels wrong to waste food. Last week, Tracey bought 4 medium-large potatoes and it cost $4.50! You’d be sure none of that went into her food scraps bin. Healthy kai is so expensive, so it needs to be cherished. Making the most of the food we buy is so important to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere.

Matariki is a time to celebrate – hard work of the harvest is over and it’s time to huddle together, cook, share korero, waiata and dream of a prosperous future. 

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Fair Food Matariki awards: 

Tupu-a-rangi- outstanding volunteer of the year – Jenni. Jenni has been volunteering twice a week since June 2021! Her outstanding efforts have resulted in her being a great team leader on the kai tables. She helps train new volunteers, takes 3 boxes of kai to her local pataka kai and steps in whenever we need her. Jenni has been an essential volunteer for us to welcome corporate groups to the Hub.

Waiti- frontline charity of the year – Give a Kid a Blanket. GaKaB helps our community 24/7, Bernie and his team do community meals and all round emergency support for those in need. He collects kai on a Friday afternoon and redistributes over the weekend. GaKaB are always a quick call away if we have surplus kai and are doing amazing things in the West Auckland community.

Waita- sustainable food donor of the year – Life Health Foods. Life Health Foods have been supporters of Fair Food for a while. In 2022, they developed delicious soups with proceeds from each pack sold to be donated to Fair Food. Many members of their team have volunteered at Fair Food so they know first hand what we do and where their donated products go.

Hiwa-i-te-rangi- funder of the year – West City Auto Group. John and his team at WCAG are always a phone call away. They order REGO’s and RUC’s for us, organise services and COF’s all whilst giving us mates rates. Just last week, Rick came to pick up one of our vehicles to be serviced. WCAG have loaned us vehicles and are always willing to lend us a helping hand.

Thank you to all our community groups that integrated Fair Food into their Matariki events. Rescuing food is a great way to show respect for the whenua and the kai it gives us.


We also hosted a staff Matariki awards, here are the Fair Food winners:

Matariki – passionately guiding and encouraging others – Adele Duncan
Waipunarangi – demonstrating acts of kindness- Maia Gallagher
Tupu-ā-nuku – focusing on the future of Fair Food- Sam Wright
Ururangi – consistently having a superstar attitude – Sonny Wade

It is past time for a national food strategy that reconciles the chronic food insecurity of many families with the fact that New Zealand produces enough food to feed 40 million people. We must change our relationship to food if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, which are already being felt across Auckland. 

Fair Food were honoured to host the food policy forum on behalf of the Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA). A panel of political parties shared how they plan to address food waste and its impact on climate change and food security. Over 20 diverse food rescue organisations came together to meet with local MPs to discuss the growing need for food rescue amidst a shrinking budget for support.

Watch the video on One News

In a RNZ Checkpoint interview, Fair Food General Manager Michelle Blau, says that “costs are already as low as we can get them – run by the hard mahi of volunteers, Fair Food processes one week’s worth of groceries for about $10.

“While the government’s announcement for an extra $6 million dollars for food banks was warmly welcomed, it does not benefit food rescue groups who do not buy their food. So we face a situation where there’s money for tinned tomatoes but not money for fresh tomatoes. There’s money for cheap food, but not money for fresh, healthy food,” says Michelle.

AFRA have just launched a Nourishing Aotearoa campaign calling on political parties to support three important policies for food rescue: 

1. $12 million annually for 4 years dedicated to local food rescue organisations 

2. A community-led, Government-enabled food plan that ensures the economic, environmental and social sustainability of our food systems

3. Mandatory reporting of food waste across the food value chain 

You can read more about this AFRA membership campaign for food sovereignty in this Stuff story.

Across Aotearoa, food rescue organisations rescue on average 20 tonnes of quality food a day that was destined for landfill and re-distribute it to people in need, with a measured social return on investment of $4.50 for every $1 invested. In 2022, Fair Food rescued 621,760kg of surplus food destined for landfill, providing 1.8 million meals to communities, whilst reducing 1,648 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Fair Food’s Conscious Kitchen is benefitting from kaumātua cooking knowledge through an innovative recipe partnership with Oceania – Retirement & Aged Care Living. 

During a 9-week recipe competition, residents submitted over 170 recipes using their generational knowledge in the kitchen, primarily focusing on minimising food waste. Driving the project amongst Oceania’s residents was Resident Experience Manager Julia Biggs, 

“This was a fantastic opportunity to tap into our resident’s generational knowledge of preparing and cooking quality food. Many of our residents would have grown up with the ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ mindset, so making sure no food goes to waste was second nature to them. We were overwhelmed at the response we got, and it was a real joy to see family favourite recipes submitted, some of which were created generations ago. Although Fair Food are an Auckland based charity, we opened this competition up to all of our residents across New Zealand. We’re incredibly proud that so many of the recipes provided by our wonderful residents will contribute in preserving food and filling the tummies of those in need for years to come,” shares Julia. 

Volunteers at Fair Food trailed lots of different recipes to see what would work the best for our kitchen with the ingredients we had. The top three recipes from both retirement & and aged care living residents were:


Dutch apple cake                                           Tasty vegan fruit loaf

Carrot soup.                                                   Any veggie quiche

Tomato relish                                                  Tomato relish


These recipes uphold the Conscious Kitchen’s purpose to upcycle rescued food that was destined for landfill. The flexibility of ingredients, consistency of taste and easy level of difficulty made them perfect for our community. 

Oceania reached out to Fair Food, after volunteering at the kai tables, because they could see an overlap with their pillar of “people, planet, prosperity,” and wanted to find more ways to engage residents in the zero-waste mission of Fair Food. 

“Cooking and sharing traditional recipes often made by their parents or grandparents was a really fun and healing experience for our volunteers. It allowed us to connect with a generation and community that grew up with zero waste practices,” says Fair Food General Manager Michelle Blau.

From cakes and soups to quiches and relishes, all of the cooking was distributed to our recipient groups within our community, helping feed people not landfill. 

Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand has chosen Fair Food for Vice-regal patronage following a visit to volunteer with their community. Fair Food were honoured to host Their Excellencies Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies in our Conscious Kitchen to share kai with our recipient charities. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies joined us in the morning to bake the Queen’s Banana Bread (with banana peels and all) and a batch of carrot ginger soup that got rave reviews from our recipient groups.

As well as cooking in the kitchen, Their Excellencies loaded kai boxes into the cars of charities coming for their weekly pickup. They were gifted fruit preserves made in a workshop at the Ōtahuhu Library with Senior Librarian and Fair Food volunteer Hannah Edwards.

We were humbled to be chosen as an organisation Their Excellencies wanted to visit and to recognise with Vice-regal patronage. Thank you for the beautiful morning tea with our volunteers.

If you want to join us like Dame Cindy and Dr Davies did, come volunteer in the Conscious Kitchen. Sign up on Sign Up Genius to upcycle kai to feed people not landfill.

Too many mothers are missing out on fresh food and are skipping meals, so their kids have enough to eat.

Research by the University of Waikato found that parents went without food in order to feed their children and that mothers in particular worked very hard to protect their children from knowing the extent of the poverty and hunger within the home.

“Mums are experts at shielding their children from anything that might lower their esteem. By going to great lengths to prevent the stigma of food poverty, it masks the true extent of the problem in New Zealand,” says Fair Food General Manager Michelle Blau.

Almost 1 in 3 solo parent households face material hardship, like lack of access to fresh fruit and vegetables. According to the Ministry of Health, 22% of children ages 0-15 live in households reporting that food ran out often or sometimes. This number is likely to be much higher now as grocery prices have skyrocketed. It is hard to reconcile this with the fact that New Zealand produces enough food to feed 40 million people.

A New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) survey of 43 food charities conducted between last January and June confirmed that employed people are increasingly seeking assistance, as 79% cited low-paying jobs as their reason for requesting food support. This was before interest rates on mortgages were predicted to go up by around $900 a fortnight in Auckland. Fresh produce was 22% more expensive in March of this year compared to the year before.

Fair Food is encouraging people to donate $10 to provide a week’s worth of fresh food for a mum in need. By rescuing surplus perishable foods like meat, dairy, and produce from supermarkets and manufacturers, Fair Food’s team of volunteers can provide the ingredients for a healthy meal for just 50 cents.

“We have already shared more than 175,000 kilos of food for free this year (about half a million meals), but there’s a waitlist of charities wanting to partner with us, and every group we help has seen increased requests for assistance this year. The cost of living crisis, flood, and cyclone have really knocked our community back, but if everyone helps a little, we can all get back on our feet,” shares Michelle.

Donate today, so mum has one less thing to worry about and can relax knowing her fridge is full.

A mature feijoa plant can produce up to 30 kilos of fruit. That’s a lot of cordial and crumble. When you’ve had your fill, Fair Food urges you to donate your surplus to a local food rescue organisation to help feed people, not landfill. We aim to share the fresh ingredients for 5,000 meals each day, with a focus on the flood-impacted areas of West Auckland.

“With the cost of groceries at an all time high, and availability hitting a low, now is the perfect time to share your surplus homegrown fruits and veggies with friends and neighbours. There’s no such thing as too many courgettes or feijoas for us. We provide the fresh ingredients for a day’s worth of meals for 1600 people every single day, so we will find a family for whatever you’ve got in your garden,” encourages Fair Food General Manager Michelle Blau.

“We’re partnering with a local rest home to learn recipes for chutneys, jams, and soups, so we’re gaining the wisdom of our kaumatua while we feed our home community. Volunteers are always welcome in our zero waste Conscious Kitchen at our Hub in Avondale,” says Michelle. 

The gap in access to fresh food has increased considerably since the extreme weather this summer, and many home gardens were damaged. “Most areas of West Auckland lost electricity for days and had to bin everything in the fridge and freezer. A lot of people cannot afford to replace a week’s worth of food right now, so community groups stepped in to help. There are also hundreds of families who’ve moved in with relatives while they sort out their home, and that’s putting real pressure on the already strained supermarket bill.” 

“Food money is the most flexible expense in a tight budget. Families may use part of their food budget to replace an essential item, damaged by the flood, while they wait for an insurance reimbursement. It leaves many people in a vulnerable spot, especially with prices what they are at the moment. If you’ve got fresh food to spare, now is a great time to share it,” says Michelle.



Fair Food is Auckland’s original food rescue charity, on a mission to feed people not landfill since 2011. We share around 35,000 meals worth of fresh food every week through a network of 50 local organisations. Supermarkets, manufacturers, and growers donate more than 1 tonne a day of surplus kai. Last year, Fair Food rescued 621 tonnes of food, which is the GHG emissions equivalent of driving 6.5 million kilometres and is like a week’s worth of food for up to 81,350 people. Across Aotearoa last year, food rescue organisations saved 11,500 tonnes of food

Close to half of the West Auckland region was still without power four days after Cyclone Gabrielle hit. Food in fridges and freezers rotted. Fair Food rallied our network of more than 40 local charities to share kai at this crucial time.

The impacts of climate change have been felt acutely across West Auckland with extreme weather all summer. Landslides in the Waitākere Ranges cut off coastal communities. Hundreds of homes were completely destroyed. The week of the cyclone, Fair Food provided the fresh ingredients for 33,671 meals.

“With grocery prices at an all-time high, most people in our community lack the funds to replace a week’s worth of damaged food. More people than ever before are reaching out for food assistance, and we want to make sure their needs are met,” shares Fair Food General Manager, Michelle.

“At its heart, Fair Food is neighbours helping each other. Our network of volunteers and community groups were checking on each other and making plans to assist before the worst of the storm had even passed. They said, ‘The water is rising, but so are we.”

“Almost everyone lost something in the flood or cyclone. We’ve supported hundreds of families recovering from leaks inside the home, flooded garages, damaged cars or downed trees. While people are quick to say that others had it worse, the disruption across our community is immense,” says Michelle.

Whether it’s organising a delivery by wheelbarrow to an isolated area or loaning their van when a food delivery was stalled by car trouble, Fair Food is innovating to rebuild their community after disaster.

“The experience of living on low-incomes provides a resilience that’s been an asset in this crisis. Surviving poverty is a lot like a flood. Problems flow around you like water until suddenly you’re surrounded and don’t know how to get to safety. No one should go through this alone,” encourages Michelle.

Fair Food focuses on rescued perishable foods like fruit and vegetables, meat, and dairy because it’s what most people can’t afford, and fresh food breaks down as methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The 11,785 kgs of kai shared the week after the cyclone reduced emissions by more than 32 tonnes.

“We want to be solving food insecurity rather than adding a climate problem to a food problem. We can help poverty and Papatūānuku at the same time.”

Join the One Percent Collective to donate to Fair Food.