A local community kitchen is pulling out all the stops to feed families in Wairarapa.
Focused on “enriching our community”, Food Resilience Wairarapa [FRW] – which is part of the Wairarapa Community Centre – provides monthly guidance to community members regarding different cooking skills, including how to stretch a meal and cook on a budget.
FRW offers a variety of programmes in partnership with other organisations like Waiwaste and the Masterton Foodbank.
The idea for cooking classes grew from FRW’s first programme, the community kitchen, which was introduced six years ago.
In a circular economy of a community-supporting community, Beverley Jack works tirelessly to provide wholesome kai [food] to those who need it most in Wairarapa.
The Times-Age spoke with Jack about how the community kitchen, cooking classes, and the GROW community garden help fulfil FRW’s mission to help enrich the community.
The sweet aroma of freshly baked muffins and a simmering meat medley filled the room as Jack proudly outlined the good work done in the kitchen just down the hall and at the community garden at St Matthew’s church.
Jack said it was a “real concern around food poverty and kids going to school hungry or going to bed hungry” that led to the inception of the community kitchen, which in turn inspired the community supporting community mindset.
Food Resilience Wairarapa, Waiwaste, and Masterton Foodbank have an agreement that “identifies if anybody has a surplus, to support each other’s programs”.
Waiwaste collects surplus food from supermarkets that’s still fit for human consumption but cannot be sold and provides FRW with the ingredients needed to run their cooking classes and community kitchen.
This agreement means that food isn’t unnecessarily going into the landfill.
FRW is dedicated to eliminating food waste and comes up with meal ideas only once the food has been received [flexibility and a little creativity are definitely a requirement].
FRW has made over 7700 meals already this year, a stark increase on the 2500 meals it produced during its first year of operation.