Recently, Regional Public Health, Common Unity Project Aotearoa and Healthy Families Hutt Valley worked together to raise awareness of the opportunity to input into the draft Wellington Regional Growth Framework (WRGF). This included engaging with members of the Regional Kai and Our Community Food Network on the proposal for a regional strategy for food production and security. 

A collective submission was written in support of the proposed strategy with 40 signatories from a range of groups and organisations across the kai system. The group also connected with the Director of the WRGF to offer support to develop the strategy.

Planning workshops in Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Levin and Kāpiti provided valuable opportunities to connect and work across government agencies and local and regional authorities to plan for growth together.

Themes from the workshops included:

  • Striking a balance between housing development and land for growing food
  • Ensuring planning processes explore opportunities to increase food resiliency
  • Advocating for community voice and equity to be at the forefront of planning for population growth and neighbourhood development
  • Promoting tools and other frameworks to support planning for healthy neighbourhoods together

Subsequently, a workshop was held to develop a scoping document for a regional Sustainable Food Production Strategy which the Wellington Regional Leadership committee will consider in July. This workshop included farmers, food producers, Councils and the Ministry of Social Development. 

Themes to emerge included:

  • Equitable access to nutritious food
  • Striking a balance between providing good food for our communities and the need to export for profit
  • Recognising the food system contribution to other WRGF objectives including zero-carbon economy and creating employment opportunities
  • Removing barriers and compliance costs to farming, horticulture and community food enterprises.

The kai movement is gaining momentum at both the local and regional levels, working collectively is creating impact. This work has reinforced that across the system we are all aligned and committed to working towards achieving food resilience and food sovereignty for our people.