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What local food can look like (and why)

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, May 21st, 2021 - 10 comments
Categories: business, economy, food, sustainability - Tags: , , , , , , ,

The South Coast Environment Society in Riverton is fundraising for a van as part of their ongoing community project connecting food growers/producers and customers in the rohe. Starting with the Longwood Loop, the project aims to eventually cover three other Southland areas. Below is an outline from their Pledgeme page, which is also a wonderful description of sustainability and resiliency in action.

In true sustainability fashion, there are multiple interlocking benefits. It is both climate mitigation via vastly reduced food miles and supporting growers more likely to be regenerative or heading that way, as well as climate adaptation in making food supplies more resilient as local growers develop new skills and practices specific to the changes in their area and microclimates. It’s also promoting local economic resilience, enabling people to make a living doing what they love, with 75% of the sale price being returned to producers, and many more dollars staying in the community. And community resilience as small rural towns are connected up in a new way.

The project uses the Open Food Network system and extends the potential for communities to relocalise. This is a template that other places will be able to use.

The Longwood Loop is a community food resilience loop, that connects the small rural towns surrounding the Longwood Mountains in Western Southland. Our electric van will travel from town to town bringing fresh, locally grown and made food to community hubs, picking up more produce to bring to the next hub. Everything would be ordered on an online “farmers market’ so buyers know who grows the food and where.

The Longwood Loop will provide an important outlet for food growers and crafts people to sell what they produce, and will increase access to good food, and community connection for many in Western Southland, once established this van will serve 3 more “Loops” each week covering more than half of rural Southland.

When there is some form of natural disaster or transport disruption, we have only 3 days supply of food in our supermarkets, as this food comes from all over the world and only a tiny fraction of it comes from the Southland region.  Now is the time, before disaster strikes, to re-localise some of our basic needs – things that we can grow and produce locally.

The Longwood Loop & the Electric Van to the rescue!

Re-localising will bring rejuvenation and resilience to our small country towns – food growers and producers will have access to the low-cost transport loop: their market will grow to 4,000+ people without having to leave their township. This will considerably reduce costs for producers, leading to lower prices for consumers.

This is a pilot for re-localising food for rural NZ – we have an online platform where locals can buy directly from locals, and with the electric van we are raising money for, no producer or consumer need to go more than 10km to buy or sell food through a trading hub.

This will socially, economically and environmentally benefit rural NZ: If just 20% of rural NZ spent just 20% of their current food bill locally, 1.5 million dollars would go back to rural NZ each week!

This van is initially for Western Southland and will travel 165km around the Longwood mountain range. Once we have this working well we will do 3 more loops with this one van: Central Southland, Northern Southland and Fiordland, at least once a week.

We have already received $36,000 from Community Trust South for this fabulous new e-deliver van: this campaign is for the balance. It is $5,000 more for the larger battery, so $20,000 pledged would be ideal. If we get pledged more than we need we will subsidise the running costs of the van while trading builds up. Eventually it will be self-funding with 10% of all trade used to run the loop. You can watch a review of the e-deliver here: https://youtu.be/IiCN2OrMMqo

South Coast Enviromnent Society  is a registered charity so all pledges are tax deductable and we email reciepts on request.

If you would like to support the project, donations can be made on the Pledgeme page.

Longwood Loop on Facebook and the web.

10 comments on “What local food can look like (and why) ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Well done and wishing you the best with this idea. This is precisely the kind of real action that builds community.

    In turn I hope that the authors and commenters here might note that right now, as I type this, I'm working as part of a team commissioning a heavy industry lithium extraction plant that is the essential component of the batteries for that electric van you plan on using.

    We all contribute in our own way.

    • Robert Guyton 1.1

      Speaking on behalf of the Longwood Loop team, I thank you, RedLogix, for your support and your work with the batteries we will require. I'd like to know, from someone like yourself with expertise in the field, how we might manage the issue of batteries, their longevity and post-use fate. I don't intend that point to be the focus of the thread though, as it's the initiative itself that's caught weka's attention and is cause for celebration and discussion; I'm working with the people involved and am in awe of their perseverence and scope of vision; the greatest challenge they/we face is the slowness with which "various agencies" catch-on to and throw their weight behind, a proposal that's so clearly needed by our rural community.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        how we might manage the issue of batteries, their longevity and post-use fate.

        It's entirely doable and there is a reasonable amount of interest in getting this right at an early stage. The good news here is that one of the largest lithium producers is working on a new plant in the US to effectively recycle lithium from end of life batteries.

        (Sorry no linky I scanned it briefly the other day but I've forgotten where.)

        • greywarshark 1.1.1.1

          I am not being facetious, but is it possible for you to use a horse and cart for local Robert. Can we bring in more Clydesdales or even the cob-type smaller horse into use? Perhaps it could only happen as traffic dies down though. We used to have a dedicated horse and cart man in Nelson, and the horse was great at traffic lights, and coped with sharp right turns. It seemed in good order but the SPCA found something wrong and it was taken from him. But it was an interesting feature in town. I suggested to the Council that the tourists would find it quaint, and there could be some adaption and agreement made so we could keep it, but no.

          • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.1.1

            Ha! In an effort to maintain the confidence of the Southland community, we are endeavouring to not give any naysayers the opportunity to mock the project 🙂 To that end we are opting for a faint hum of an EV over the clippety-clop of a Clydesdale 🙂 Perhaps, further down the road…

  2. gsays 2

    What a great initiative. Tips the food production pyramid back the way it used to be before the supermarkets had their way. Restores the mana of primary producers.

    Local and seasonal.

    Next step might be getting these folk to have a Pandemic Preparedness Plan so they can sell their wares through any further disruptions.

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      We were able to operate during lockdown, delivering to isolated people who needed organic foods or products free from gluten etc. Next time, if their is one, the EV should be able to extend that service significantly. It was fascinating being able to drive on near-empty roads (even less congested than Southland roads already are 🙂

      • Patricia Bremner 2.1.1

        Well done Robert. Actions like this really count.

        • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.1

          Thanks, Patricia – all credit should really go to my wife, Robyn, the driver of the initiative, but I'll pass your message on 🙂

  3. Good work.

    Green roofs can be used in cities. This is what we need in Ak, Wgtn and elsewhere …

    See https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/realestate/the-green-roof-revolution.html

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