A paddock to plate initiative for red meat is doing the rounds in Central Otago.
The concept, designed to ensure families can put good, nutritious food on the dinner table, welcomes support from farmers across Central Otago and beyond.
They are asked to donate red meat to the cause.
The initiative between local farmers and Oamaru-based meat processor BX Foods ensures the meat is delivered into communities in need, via KiwiHarvest, a national food rescue organisation.
KiwiHarvest has also distributed pork under a similar initiative, which it launched last month.
The projects are designed to assist people as the financial impact of Covid-19 starts to take hold, placing extra pressure on foodbanks and charity services.
Central Otago farmer Emma Crutchley is among those supporting the red meat initiative.
‘‘Many in the red meat sector faced numerous challenges during lockdown, particularly as a result of processing delays, causing widespread livestock feed shortages. Despite this, the outlook remains positive.’’
She said as an essential service, farmers were well placed to support the New Zealand economy, but also wanted to find a practical and meaningful way to support those facing real hardship in their region.
‘‘This partnership has and will present farmers with an immediate opportunity to contribute directly to those struggling within our own communities.
‘‘The need for food, particularly red meat, is unprecedented, demanding an extraordinary response, and we’d like to encourage any farmers who are able to donate red meat to support the initiative.’’
Director and founder of KiwiHarvest Deborah Manning said red meat was always in high demand, so the initiative would go a long way to supporting families throughout the South Island who were relying on food donations.
‘‘We’re extremely grateful to any farmers who are able to contribute what they can.’’
As of last week, 200kg of red meat had been delivered to communities throughout Dunedin and organisers hoped that would expand as supplies increased.
A KiwiHarvest spokesperson said the initiative would remain active for as long asthe ‘‘generosity’’ of farmers allowed.
NZ Pork chief executive David Baines said the feedback had been ‘‘extremely positive’’, particularly among processors and farmers.
‘‘For them, this is all about helping those in need during the Covid-19 crisis while at the same time supporting the sector, to alleviate what could have been an extremely serious animal welfare crisis, with a surplus of pigs on New Zealand farms due to the closure of butchers during the lockdown.’’