Food resilience is the ability to prepare for, withstand, and recover from disruptions in the food supply chain in order to make food accessible for all.
Food resilience is about people. It is about how we connect with each other and how we relate to our role within the ecosystem. It invites us to care and be guardians.
After the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, we recognised a need for a food – resilient region. We set out to create a network of organisations that share these goals in order to provide sustainable food options for Cantabrians. We created the Edible Canterbury Charter that weaves together a “patchwork of food producing hotspots woven like a ribbon into the fabric of our community”.
The Edible Canterbury Values
Three organisations work alongside the Edible Canterbury Charter. They follow the values and principles laid out in the Charter, and work hard to create and maintain food security in Christchurch.
Food Resilience Network
In 2013, Fiona Parkes of the Rangiora Earthquake Express contacted Matt Morris as Chair of Soil & Health Canterbury. Their organisation was winding up, had funds, and wanted to leave a legacy food project in the region.
Together, the two organisations ran a hui at the University of Canterbury called “Feeding Our Future” in 2013. This hui brought together representatives from a range of organisations who all had an interest in food resilience.
At the hui they developed a vision of “a patchwork of food producing hotspots woven like a ribbon into the fabric of our community”. This vision is still central to the Food Resilience Network’s operations. The hui also agreed that there should be a group of individuals and organisations formed to drive this vision forward. Eventually, that group of organisations and individuals became the Food Resilience Network.
Concurrently with the Food Resilience Network, the Christchurch City Council was developing new community garden guidelines. This led into co-creating a food resilience policy for the city with the Food Resilience Network. Thus we developed the Food Resilience Action Plan, and the Edible Canterbury Charter.
In early 2015 numerous organisations signed the Edible Canterbury Charter, committing to providing food resilience in the Christchurch region. The Christchurch City Council was the first to sign. This Charter sets out the guiding principles of our collective efforts to create a more food resilient region. The Charter also establishes accountability and guidance for it’s signatories. The Edible Canterbury web-portal, where you are right now, serves as a one-stop shop for information about growing and enjoying local food.
The Ōtākaro Orchard is a project of the Food Resilience Network to build an urban learning hub for local food in the heart of Christchurch. As the only community-led anchor project of the rebuild, Ōtākaro Orchard is a rare example of grassroots community vision backed by both the local & national government, and the private sector. Additionally, this project won the tender from CERA for the North Frame Community Garden. This project is a critical anchor for our thriving local food movement, a central nexus for inter-generational learning, and a world-class exemplar of what’s possible for New Zealand and other cities around the globe.
Ōtākaro Orchard is a self-sustaining site, with a Cafe and Information Centre, Social Enterprise Cafe, and is HQ for the Food Resilience Network.
Ōtākaro Orchard is realising the vision of the community thanks to help from generous donors and volunteers. To get involved, join in a working bee, tour the site, or make a contribution, please visit us at otakaroorchard.org on Facebook .
How do the Food Resilience Network, Edible Canterbury, and Ōtākaro Orchard work together?