Scarecrow: bringing sustainable food to the heart of Auckland

By jay

The ‘slow food’ movement is taking off in Auckland, with New Zealand’s first dedicated Slow Brew coffee bar and seasonal food shop opening in Auckland.

Scarecrow is a pop-up food project led by chef Ben Barton, in collaboration with POPdining, Kokako, Karma Cola, Nice Blocks and AUT School of Hospitality.

With parallels to the global slow food movement, Scarecrow offers a new twist on ‘fast food,’ by striving to promote local food and the people who produce it.  

Kokako’s Slow Brew coffee bar brews coffee without using steam or pressure, rather than the pressurised coffee you produce through an espresso machine. Slow brewing coffee teases out the flavour nuances of a single origin coffee or blend, producing a beverage with lower acidity. The coffee bar will focus on batch brews, pour overs and cold brew coffee, showcasing a variety of single origin coffees.

Serving ‘ready to go’ breakfast and lunch, Scarecrow celebrates seasonal food, with a carefully curated retail offering from a selection of artisan suppliers in the Auckland region.

“What we are doing here is different because the ingredients for most of the food sold for takeaway are also available for purchase in the shop, and we provide the recipes too,” says Ben.

“We have done this to show people that eating by the season can be really exciting, and that it’s easy to create meals based around what is growing at the time,” he says.

Food is prepared in the AUT Hospitality School kitchen and the menu changes daily to reflect what is available from suppliers. 

“By celebrating what’s in season, we can offer our customers affordable, healthy takeaway food that tastes amazing,” says Ben.

Scarecrow celebrates suppliers by showcasing a range of unique local delicacies for retail sale, with an emphasis on organic produce sourced from growers in the Auckland region. 

The retail offering includes fair trade organic hot chocolate, coffee and beverages from Kokako, frozen treats from Nice Blocks, and beverages from All Good Organics. Scarecrow also offers fruit and vegetables for sale from Ooooby (Out Of Our Own Backyards) through their box delivery scheme. 

“We chose the scarecrow to represent the guardians of the paddock or crop. What you see for sale is what we cook with. We are stoked to be able to support local suppliers and to share their stories through the food we offer to our customers,” says Ben.

Waste management has been carefully considered, with all takeaway containers made from plant-based compostable packaging from Friendlypak, and compost collected every week by We Compost. 

The Scarecrow pop up is open from 7.00am to 2.00pm Monday to Friday until Christmas, so pop in to visit the team at 33 Victoria St East, Auckland for a truly sustainable food experience.  

The Sustainable Business Network supports Scarecrow as a good example of a collaborative approach to solving issues in the food system. Click here to find out more about SBN’s Restorative food work stream.