Wellington’s Kaibosh is rescuing kai and minimising waste

By jay

Kaibosh are a not-for-profit organisation that rescues quality surplus food from the food industry and redistributes it to community groups that support people in need.

Started in 2008 by Robyn and George Langlands, Kaibosh heavily depends on the philanthropic gestures of financial backers, volunteers and donations from the public.

Kaibosh is currently working to expand its operation with a new base in the Hutt region, in order to meet demand. In cities where Kaibosh isn’t active, it tries to assist other food rescue organisations in a series of informal relationships.

Feeding the Hungry

Kaibosh’s refrigerated truck collects food several times a day from various donors (including supermarkets, cafes and food producers).The food is then weighed and stored overnight at Kaibosh HQ until it’s picked up the following morning by representatives of the community organisations Kaibosh works with. 

Matt Dagger, General Manager, says the organisation continues to grow.

“Our goal over the next six months is to establish a second base in the Hutt region. It will service Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wainuiomata areas. We’ve been finding it hard to fulfil the demand of both potential food donors and of community groups requiring food in these areas without having a base ‘on the ground’.”

Being a small team that’s largely dependent on donations can be demanding, with the second Kaibosh facility facing a number of obstacles. 

“We’re very realistic about what we can do, even if it feels like you’re only scratching the surface.” Matt says.

Being realistic about what you can do and doing nothing aren’t the same and Kaibosh has found a way to support the growing interest in food rescue. 

“There’s no national food rescue network but we work with people from other parts of the country. It’s a very informal relationship, they usually contact us and tell us what they’re doing and we’ll help out in any way that we can, where appropriate.”

Matt says they aren’t able to fund other projects but they’ve put together a guide for establishing a food rescue network and their experience gives them a depth of knowledge as to how to successfully run a food rescue service.

“In areas outside of Wellington, we offer our advice and assistance but it is very much up to those ‘on-the-ground’ to make their own service work. We believe that local people know best how to solve local issues.” Matt says.

Matt encourages organisations that want to work with Kaibosh to share in Kaibosh’s values of helping the collective and also understanding the size of the undertaking.

“A lot of people want to get involved with food rescue and they then work on it and realise how much work is involved and consequently step back, which lets the charities down and the donors and the people that need the food.

“We work with them to help them understand how much work is involved.”

Kaibosh has:

  • Rescued 385,817kg of food
  • Distributed over 1.1 million meals
  • Reduced carbon emissions by over 300,000kg
  • Assisted by 85 volunteers
  • Contributes to37 different community organisations

Kaibosh is the official charity for this year’s Wellington On a Plate and has teamed up with Shepherd Elliot (owner of Ti Kouka) to create  a four course feast designed to challenge guests’ ideas around food wastage.

You can read about SBN’s work in food and the National Good Food Network on our website.