NPDC supports grassroots organisations to put food on the table

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It’s hard feeding a family with grocery bills soaring, but Barry “Shimme” Schimanski is helping to feed dozens of households every day – and he’s upped his output thanks to funding ringfenced by NPDC to tackle food insecurity.


The veteran volunteer at the WISE Community Garden in Waitara has more than doubled the size of the vegie patch using a new rotary hoe, purchased with the $1500.


“We’re supplying record amounts of fresh vegies to the Waitara Pataka Kai foodbank with much less of the backbreaking spade work that was needed before.  The food we produce helps dozens of families put a nutritious and filling meal on the table every day,” said WISE General Manager Paul Scouller.

“The rotary hoe has enabled our team of volunteers to prepare larger areas in quicker turnaround times to enable faster planting of seedlings, setting these seedlings up for faster growth.”


He says the food the team produces is helping dozens of Waitara whānau put nutritious vegetable on their shelves.


NPDC’s Community Development Committee identified food security, where everyone has enough healthy food to eat, as a priority and earmarked $150,000 to work on a district-wide strategy.


Having a more secure food source will also ensure people can get through tough times caused by natural disasters or personal emergencies which can push prices up or impact supply chains.


An estimated one in five Kiwi kids are at risk of going hungry and the Community Development Committee is aiming to break that pattern in Taranaki.


NPDC Community Capacity Building Adviser Damien Clark said Covid, and the cost-of-living crisis have squeezed incomes for many people to the point where they have to choose between buying food or paying other essential bills.


“Creating healthy and thriving communities with our residents is part of being a Sustainable Lifestyle Capital. Healthy and nutritious food can help cut obesity levels, improve schooling for kids, and cut emissions from waste which benefits all of us.


“If we are serious about improving food security we all need to work together so this work very action orientated as it is about supporting initiatives that will make a real difference, and empowering grassroots organisations to support local residents to become more self-sufficient, grow their own food and resilience,” says Damien.



  • About one in five Kiwi kids live with a moderate to severe lack of adequate food, according to the Ministry of Health.
  • To date, 14 community groups have received funding from NPDC for food security initiatives ranging from upgrades to existing food bank services, to grow your own vegetable programmes.
  • $70,000 has been distributed to community groups for food projects.


Caption: Barry “Shimme” Schimanski gets to work with the rotary hoe at the WISE Community Garden in Waitara.