The National Good Food Network

By jay

SBN’s Emily Dowding-Smith has spent the last two years bringing people together to help restore New Zealand’s food system. You could be part of the next phase. 

New Zealand has a relatively uncrowded, fertile landscape. We bask in a climate that provides a long and strong growing season for all kinds of crops and livestock. This has created rich agricultural traditions that remain a key part of our economy.

But something has gone wrong with this country and food. 

More than a quarter of a million New Zealanders have type 2 diabetes. This is one of the highest rates in the developed world. It is primarily caused by obesity and lack of exercise. In New Zealand it most frequently occurs among our poorest people who suffer from a lack nutrient-rich healthy foods.

New Zealand has the third highest adult obesity rate in the OECD, and our rates are rising. Almost one in three adult New Zealanders over 15 years of age is obese, and one in ten children. 

New Zealand households waste 122,547 tonnes of food waste. This creates $872 million a year in disposal costs. Its creation and disposal created CO2 emissions equivalent to planting 130,390 trees, or running 118,107 cars for a year. The average Kiwi household is binning $563 worth of food a year.

And more than a quarter of a million Kiwi kids are living in poverty which includes a significant lack of nutritious food.

Representatives from sports trusts, iwi, public health, primary health, local government, and national government are working on these challenges.  But until recently no single network brought them all altogether.

That’s why the Sustainable Business Network created the National Good Food Network.

The Good Food Network is helping to define the barriers for those wishing to provide good food and health advice. There are also barriers to those trying to get good food into their homes and communities.

Last year a total of 17 representatives from 12 areas across New Zealand took part in three full day hui in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch. There were 18 visits to, or talks from, businesses, researchers, social enterprises, and contract manufacturers across New Zealand.

The response has been outstanding. More than 90 per cent of participants said they increased their understanding of issues in their food system and are keen to continue.

Now we are looking for more members to join the National Good Food Network. It’s a chance to meet like-minded people from around the country to network and connect on the topic of food. We learn and share from our experiences and hear from inspirational speakers and experts. There are practical case studies and hands on learning.

We are identifying food needs in our communities and building regional champions to make a stronger story of New Zealand food.

The aim is to establish better provenance of our regional food and tell those stories better. We want to improve food tourism for our regions. We want to educate people on where their food comes from. And we want to identify and support business opportunities for food.

The network also identifies and supports business opportunities in this space. 

So if you are working in the health, business or not-for-profit sectors and have an interest in food, this is the place for you.

Participation in the Good Food Network is open to SBN members and non-members, so for more details go to:

If you would like to know more contact Emily Dowding-Smith, emily@sustainable.org.nz +64 (9) 972 0989 or 027 813 0000.