‘It’s exciting to think I’ve grown this and I’m now using it’ – Margie, Orewa.

After taking part in a ‘leftovers cook-off challenge’ from our friends at Love Food Hate Waste NZ, Margie was inspired to start growing her own food at home.

Using things I once thought of as waste

When we contacted Margie Loftus, a retired Orewa Beach resident, she was watching YouTube videos about how to grow lemon trees from seed.

“I’ve never really been a green fingers person but this year for the first time ever, I’ve got a vege garden underway.

“After attending the Love Food Hate Waste cook-off in Orewa, I realised the seeds from the food we eat can be reused. We don’t have to go to the garden centre anymore or throw out something I once thought of as waste.”

Kitchen magic

Margie says growing up on a farm taught her early on how to make something out of nothing. She’s always been a keen cook and loves to combine ingredients in interesting ways.

“I’m big on using condiments to make bland food or leftovers taste wonderful.”

So in late 2019, when a friend suggested Margie join a team for a Love Food Hate Waste cook-off happening nearby, Margie thought it sounded like great fun.

“We absolutely loved it! It was so much fun, but a bit chaotic, running here and there to try to create some amazing new dishes from leftovers, together as a team.

“Watching others create their dishes was so amazing. And because no one had been part of a challenge like this before, it was a real learning experience for us all.”

Margie says she was inspired with more ideas about creative leftover use from taking part in the cook-off.

“Like using potato skins to make chips. And now I’m more conscious about trying to use up everything. So if I have some leftover veges I’ll add them to muffins and freeze those.”

‘I don’t plant something unless I can eat it’

But the real change has been a growing interest in gardening. It started when she experimented with putting her spring onion roots into water and they resprouted.

Buoyed by this first success, she’s now got shallots growing in egg cartons and is building up a vege garden in her yard.

“We had yuccas and palms in our garden originally. Then my husband created a herb garden for me. After the Love Food Hate Waste cook-off we put some better soil in and now I don’t plant something unless I can eat it.

“So the real revelation for me has been using my garden to grow food from things I once threw out. It’s exciting to think I’ve grown this and I’m now using it.” 


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