“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.