Background image

Food Secure Communities FAQs

General FAQs

Who are the people, families and whānau who are most vulnerable to food insecurity that this funding is targeted towards?

Beneficiaries and those with a low or substantially reduced income, those who are homeless or in social or rental housing, including Mäori, Pacific, women parenting alone and disabled people are most vulnerable to food insecurity.

Shouldn’t the Government be increasing benefits rather than funding foodbanks?

Ensuring that people have an adequate income is the primary means of ensuring food security. This funding contributes to the extra and supplementary demand for food sourced from the community that is already being experienced by foodbanks and other community organisations due to the economic shocks caused by COVID-19.

Why is funding only for two years, and what will happen after that?

Funding is only for two years to contribute towards the increased demand on foodbanks and other organisations due to the economic shocks caused by COVID-19, while supporting longer-term community food security. MSD does not intend to continue to directly fund services for their increased demand after the two years. Longer term funding for the New Zealand Food Network, Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective and the Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance will be considered in due course.

Will this funding be enough, given the demand on foodbanks since COVID-19 started?

This funding addresses the additional demand on foodbanks and other community food services since COVID-19 started. It is not expected to cover the full costs of running the service. By expanding the use of surplus and rescued food, as well as establishing a cooperative food purchasing service for foodbanks, we expect that services will have enough support.

Which foodbanks, food rescue and other community food services are being funded by MSD?

Community food services who were successful in their funding applications are listed on our web-page.

How do I make contact with you?

We would love to hear from you!

Food Secure Communities National NGO partners

Who are the Food Secure Communities national NGO partners?

The Food Secure Communities programme is working with three new national NGO partner organisations who are scaling up to support the sector.

More information about Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective, Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance and the New Zealand Food Network and the support they provide is available here.

How can my organisation access food from the New Zealand Food Network?

New Zealand Food Network is a new organisation that is working to increase the supply of food to community food services by distributing bulk surplus and donated food from New Zealand food producers, growers and wholesalers through to food hubs around New Zealand. These food hubs will then distribute the food onto foodbanks and other community food services.

New Zealand Food Network are also developing a bulk food purchasing service for foodbanks and other community food services, so they can purchase food at subsidised rates from food producers and wholesalers.

What is a New Zealand Food Network ‘food hub’ and how do I become one?

Food hubs are entities (e.g. food rescue organisations, iwi, other community organisations) who have the capability of accepting and handling pallets of ambient, chilled and frozen food and other product, and who can distribute that product to a wide range of community groups.

As food stocks increase over time, NZFN expect to support around 70 to 75 food hubs. You can select here for existing food hubs

More information about registering to become a food hub is available on the New Zealand Food Network website.

How does my community organisation access the New Zealand Food Network bulk food purchasing service?

The New Zealand Food Network is also establishing a bulk food purchasing service that will enable foodbanks and other community food services to access preferential, discounted and subsidised pricing through the strong relationships that NZFN have built up with food producers, growers and wholesalers. This will mean services can either order more food or save money. NZFN plan to have the bulk purchasing service up and running in early 2021.

It will be open to all services funded through MSD’s Food Secure Communities programme, as well as any other foodbank or community food service who is associated with a NZFN food hub – you do not have to be a direct food hub recipient to access this service.

If you would like to find out more please contact

How can I join the Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA)?

AFRA provides national support for local food rescue organisations. Information about joining, including the benefits, is available on the AFRA website.

AFRA are also looking for external partners to help them to lift the capacity of food rescue organisations across the country. If you would like to discuss this, contact details for AFRA are on their website.


How does my community food service operate during COVID-19?

Find COVID-19 guidance and resources online on:

Finding a foodbank

Where can I find a list of foodbanks / food rescue / community food services in New Zealand?

If you need a foodbank or other food assistance in your area, search on the Family services directory website.

A map of community food organisations is also available on the Kore Hiakai web-site.

If you are a community food organisation who is not listed on these websites, we encourage you to do so.

Our communities’ need for food is not being met by the local foodbanks – can we set up a new one?

MSD is not funding the establishment of new foodbanks. Rather, we encourage you to work with your local foodbank/s to help them to understand and meet your communities’ needs.

We also encourage you to think instead about what options your community has that could help to reduce dependency on foodbanks over the longer term and increase the food security of your community.

Defining food security and other terms

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity is commonly defined in New Zealand as ‘a limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or a limited ability to acquire personally acceptable foods that meet cultural needs in a socially acceptable way.

What is food security?

Food security is commonly defined in New Zealand as ‘all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life’.

From this definition, four types of food security can be identified:

  • Availability: Enough food of sufficient quality is available (production, distribution, storage)
  • Access: The capacity to acquire and consume a nutritious diet (income, price, time, transport, food outlets, home storage and cooking facilities).
  • Utilisation: Appropriate choices, use of and ability to eat and metabolise food (nutrition, food safety, cooking knowledge and skills, health status).
  • Stability: Consistent availability and access to food, resilience of supply chain to environmental factors, disasters and economic shocks.

What is food sovereignty?

Food sovereignty was defined (in part) at the Declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty in Nyéléni, Mali in 2007 as ‘the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies’.

What is mana to mana practice in community food distribution?

Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective note that mana is inherent in each of us. Our mana or personal authority to make choices and maintain sovereignty over both our lives and the environments we occupy is essential. Mana to mana practice means that the way that we distribute food uplifts the mana of another. It does not compound whakamā but contributes to the restoration of mana. Genuine, authentic, reciprocal relationships are the foundation to this, as is choice over how kai is sourced, produced and distributed amongst whānau.

Learn more in Kore Hiakai’s resource on the Principles of Mana to Mana Practice in Community Food Distribution.

What is surplus food?

Any food that is surplus to the needs of the commercial food supply chain.

How do I measure the number of ‘meals’ my organisation has provided as per my Community Food Response grant?

The Community Food Response Grant Funds ask providers to measure the number of meals provided or distributed with the funding for the year to date. The following calculations can be used to determine the number of meals:

  • For food parcels: total parcels for year to date x estimated number of meals per parcel = total meals.
  • For food rescue: total kilos of food distributed for year to date divided by 350 grams of packaged or unpackaged food = total meals.
  • For food vouchers: the weekly cost of basic food for a family of four in Auckland in 2019 was $216. This works out at $2.57 per meal. Total funding distributed for year to date divided by $2.57 = total meals.

What are some ways that we can increase the food security and food sovereignty of our community?

Some resources to assist your thinking about how to increase the food security of your community include:

Background image
Print this page.