National Gardening Week 2021:  "Grow to Give"

18-25 October 2021

While some Kiwis are enjoying home grown vegies like never before, many are going without vegetables altogether.

So this National Gardening Week we encouraged Kiwis to grow-an-extra-row to share with neighbours, community pantries, food banks and other local food donation agencies.

Once you’ve grown your vegies to share check out the list below, to find an organisation in your area that would welcome your donation of fresh homegrown vegies.

Where to Donate 

The following list of community based organisations  gratefully receive food donations.  They range from community pantries – a place where people can leave food for other people to take for free – to distribution agencies and facebook networks.  They will help you get your ‘extra row’ to people in need.

NB:  Please be aware that many Auckland based community pantries may be closed in either lockdown level 3 or 4. Check each website for guidance, but Foodbank Auckland is still open for business during level 3 or 4.

Pataka Kai (national)

Foodbank NZ (national)

Bellyful (national)

Community Fruit & Veg Stands (national)

Food Rescue Northland

Loaves and Fishes Wellsford Foodbank (Wellsford)

Warkworth Christian Foodlink (Mahurangi Presbyterian Church)

Love Soup (Hibiscus Coast)

Auckland City Mission

Fair Food (West Auckland)

Kai Collective (Auckland)

i Collective (Auckland)

KiwiHarvest (Auckland)

Kaivolution (Hamilton and Cambridge)

Te Awamutu Combined Churches & Community Foodbank 

Good Neighbour (Tauranga)

Waste Not Want Not (Whakatane)

Halo Charitable Trust (Taupo, Tokoroa, Levin) 

Gizzy Kai Rescue (Gisborne)

Super Grans Tairawhiti Trust (Gisborne)

Nourished For Nil (Hastings)

On The House (New Plymouth)

Just Zilch (Palmerston North)

Te Awahou Kai (Foxton)

The Food Basket (Waipukurau)

Kaibosh (Wellington)

Social Pantry (Wellington)

Wellington City Mission

Kiwi Community Assistance (Khandallah to Porirua)

Kai Rescue (Nelson)

Kai with Love (Richmond)

0800 Hungry (Christchurch)

Christchurch City Mission

Foodbank Canterbury (Christchurch)

Satisfy Food Rescue (North Canterbury)

KiwiHarvest (Dunedin/Queenstown)



One in five kiwis struggle to put good food on the table each week.  That’s a million of us.

Candice Luke, Lead Kaitiaki at Pātaka Kai, a national community pantry movement which encourages the co-sharing of food to strengthen communities, welcomes the initiative.

“We have a real need for fresh fruit and vegies to complement the packaged goods,” says Candice.

“The majority of regular donations made to Pātaka Kai around the country are of dry or long life goods.  While we are incredibly grateful for this food it would be good to see more fresh produce being donated to provide balanced nutrition for our families in need.”

There are 158 Pātaka Kai locations around the country and people can donate or take whatever they want.  Vulnerable community members who are ineligible for assistance through other avenues are able to quickly access food through their local Pātaka Kai.

Candice would like to see seasonal fruit and vegetables that so often go to waste being collected and donated.

“It would be wonderful for more fruit and vegies to make it into the pantries instead of going to waste.  Often we see fruit laden trees or gardens bursting with vegies that are not being harvested because the land owner may not be aware of the options available for excesses, or in some cases, they may belong to someone who is physically unable to do it. 

“If able bodied people could connect with elders who have established gardens and fruit trees, we could create a smooth system for the food to make it into pantries instead of rotting on the ground,” says Candice.

The United Nations has proclaimed 2021 as the International Year of Growing Fruit and Vegetables to raise awareness on the important role of fruit and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health.

It will promote diversified, balanced, and healthy diets and lifestyles through fruit and vegetable consumption, reducing loss and waste in fruit and vegetable food systems, and share best practices.

According to Stats NZ, fruit and vegetable prices have generally increased over winter as lots of summer produce is out of season and becomes more expensive.  This year the higher prices were mainly due to tomatoes and broccoli seeing a major hike, with broccoli being at an all time high, averaging $4.13 in July.

Fiona Arthur from Yates says growing your own vegies is not only good for physical and mental health but it can seriously help save money.

“For some families paying over $4.00 for a small head of broccoli is just not going to fit into their weekly budget,” says Fiona.  If more people grow their own vegies, it will positively impact the weekly shopping bill and bring a whole lot of other benefits,” says Fiona.

“We would love to see everyone getting their extra row underway and let’s fill those community pantries.”


About National Gardening Week

National Gardening Week aims to foster a love of gardening with a focus on growing not only plants but friendships, good health, strong communities and closer connections with nature.  Whether it’s a few pots on the balcony, a small patch or an extensive garden, everyone can experience the joy of gardening.


Getting a vegie patch started

It’s not as hard as you think – and you don’t even need a garden!  Many vegies also grow in a pot and some, such as herbs, lettuce and spinach, even grow on your windowsill.

But even if you have only a small patch in your garden you can still produce a bounty of vegies. Once you’ve cleared your space of weeds, make sure you choose the right vegie seeds for your climate and the time of year.  Don’t forget to feed your seedlings to boost growth and produce and make sure you keep those bugs away.  Click HERE for simple steps to get you started.


Seed raising tips

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing that first peek of a shoot bursting through the soil.  Sometimes it takes only days and sometimes patience is a virtue. 

The three most important factors to consider when germinating seeds are sowing depth, soil moisture and soil temperature.  Click HERE for some successful seed raising tips.


Watch this space, and sign up to join the Yates Garden Club if you would like to be kept in the loop on events, inspiration and promotions over National Gardening Week.