June 22, 2020

Virtual farmers market reconnecting local community with local sources of food

Everyone deserves access to local, affordable and healthy food regardless of where they live, their income, or their mobility. The coronavirus pandemic has placed considerable strain on local food systems, inserting a barrier between the community and local sources of healthy food, particularly market gardeners and grocery store owners.

During these uncertain times, the Kai West collective responded by launching the Te Puna Market click and collect service, reconnecting local producers with the community.

Using the Open Food Network platform, vendors from Te Puna Market list their produce offering on the website where customers can order and pick up at an allotted time. Kai West spokesperson and Healthy Families Waitākere Systems Innovator, Megan Beard explains.  

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kai West was challenged with thinking outside the box to come up with new distribution channels to ensure continuity for the market. Through our networks, we discovered the Open Food Network, which proved to be an ideal open source click and collect platform for continuing Te Puna Market once we reached level 3.”

This contactless service has proved so popular Kai West is exploring ways to continue this service once the physical market relaunches in spring, Megan continues.

“Over the past month the click and collect service has gone from strength to strength, seeing more customers sign up each week, alongside several new vendors jumping on board. It’s enabled us to continue to build Te Puna Market which is a feat given the current circumstances.”

One of the latest vendors signing up is Henderson’s largest urban farm, the Woodford Gardens, located at Waitākere Hospital. Taking part in Te Puna Market is a first for Woodford Gardens, Senior Horticultural Supervisor, Malou Castaneda, explains.

“Currently the gardens are tended to within the grounds of the Waitākere Hospital, alongside managing the onsite store. Te Puna Market click and collect is a new venture for our team and we hope to also partake in the physical market once it re-launches in spring.”

Customers have from Saturday to the following Wednesday midday to make their purchases using the Open Food Network HERE.

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About Te Puna Market

Te Puna Market was launched by Kai West in 2019, in response to community concern when the primary supermarket closed, limiting access to affordable and healthy food. The market aims to reconnect the community with local growers and producers and in turn, shorten the food supply chain in West Auckland. The market is funded by Panuku Development Auckland and takes place every Saturday on the corner of Edmonton Road and Alderman Drive (click and collect only until spring).

About Kai West:

Kai West is a collective of organisations embedded in the West Auckland community with a shared kaupapa of strengthening local food systems to increase food security and resilience. Current membership includes Healthy Families Waitākere, WEST, MPHS, Massey Matters, EcoMatters and Community Waitākere.