The Papatoetoe Food Hub is a two year old community-driven initiative with the main aim of creating food sovereignty (the right of people to access healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods) amongst communities by sharing knowledge of reducing food waste. They have a café on-site and offer a wide range of activities for both adults and children. Working closely with local businesses, farmers, and their community, including partnering with Papatoetoe New World to rescue some of the supermarket’s surplus products, the Food Hub creates healthy and affordable kai and juices.

What composting method(s) do you use?
We use both hot composting and we have a worm farm. Any food waste is put in these, and the compost is used to nourish our beautiful gardens. We are always discovering more, learning about, and exploring composting, and have recently tried Bokashi – something we would like to develop next.

When did you start composting and what do you enjoy about it?

We started our composting journey in May 2020, and really enjoy seeing our healthy plants growing in our garden after being nourished by the compost we’ve made at the hub. Another enjoyable part for us is that it absolutely matches our main principle – Whenua to Whenua! By rescuing and growing food and making compost out of it we are closing the loop and giving back to nature.

Why do you compost?
We compost because the whole kaupapa here is to reduce the waste and composting is the best way to treat food waste. We use our composting site (along with our recycling stations) as education tools.

How do you make composting an easy part of your everyday life?
At our hub we have established good internal and external processes and management to make our everyday life easier. We have a system where the kitchen is always sorting and storing food, ready for the Gardening Manager to collect and compost each day.

What would you recommend about composting to other people?

When you compost, have an open mind. Don’t see things as mistakes – it is all about learning. We find our worm farm one of the easiest and most interesting methods of composting, where most of the time worms are looking after themselves and there are so many to observe, analyse, and teach us about nature. Sort food waste properly all the time, by treating each composting site differently, you won’t get the nasty smells or other things which might frighten some beginning composters.

What more do you think can be done to encourage others to compost?
The best ways to encourage others to compost would be the creation of more community composting hubs around Auckland, servicing the local businesses and the wider communities. These hubs would show people composting in action, and show how easy composting actually is!


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