Andrew Keaney

Leading New Zealand fresh produce company, T&G Fresh has launched a new charity, Fairgrow, to help get fresh fruit and vegetables to people in need.

Fairgrow will utilise its community of growers and partners to increase the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables donated to families doing it tough.

Andrew Keaney, Managing Director T&G Fresh, said Covid-19 had resulted in demand for fresh produce from supports services outstripping what was being supplied.

“COVID-19 has turned many people’s lives upside down and right now large numbers of Kiwis are finding it difficult to provide healthy and nutritious food to their families - and this need is outstripping what’s currently being donated. As a country of nutritious fresh food producers, we want to provide people with a fair go and make the most of Aotearoa’s produce,” said Keaney.

“That’s where Fairgrow can help. We will capture and aggregate surplus and donated fruit and vegetables from across our 1,200 grower partners, as well as from our own business.”

According to the New Zealand government, it’s estimated NZ$872m worth of food is wasted annually – representing 122,500 tonnes sent to landfill, which Keaney said could be put to better use.

“We know addressing food insecurity will require everyone, including business, government and community groups, to work together and take collaborative action,” Keaney explained.

“Fairgrow will help with this by also raising funds to buy produce when it’s not in abundance or readily available, thereby providing Kiwis in need with greater availability throughout the year. Furthermore, at various times of the year, some produce might be left in the ground or on trees as it may not have a natural commercial home. Fairgrow will make financial contributions towards helping harvest and donate some of these crops.”

As a foundational partner of the New Zealand Food Network (NZFN), Fairgrow will use its extensive grower network and national fresh produce supply chain to help connect the supply of fresh produce with national demand from NZFN’s network of food rescue organisations, iwi and charities.

“Using our existing infrastructure like our trucks, nationwide distribution network and cool stores, we’ll efficiently aggregate donated produce from across the country, and work with our partners at NZFN, so they can get it out to communities who need it the most,” added Keaney.