Rotary club talk to focus on food shortages, wastage

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Food shortages and wastage will be among topics explored by Central Otago-based social scientist and company founder Helen Darling at a talk in Gore.

Dr Darling was to speak at the Gore Rotary Club’s meeting on Monday.

However, the talk has been postponed because of the weather.

She has a PhD in public health and has been working in food systems for about 15 years. She is the co-founder of FoodTruths.org, a New Zealand based start-up that is reimagining food systems for the betterment of people and planet.

The talk will outline New Zealand’s food systems, how Covid-19 affected those systems, food shortages and wastage.

“It will be something that gets people thinking and open up discussion food-for-thought presentation,” Dr Darling said.

The global pandemic demonstrated how fragile food systems had become.

The long list of flow-on effects from lockdown included concerns fruit and vegetable crops would be left to rot because of labour shortages, she said.

The present crisis may also be a catalyst for countries to invest in systems that would improve their food security.

These systems needed to differ from the vulnerable industrialised-type agriculture to one that was robust and flexible, Dr Darling said.

New Zealand was in a good position when it came to feeding its population, because it was an abundant food crop and animal producer.

Food wastage was another topic she would explore. It is estimated enough food is wasted in New Zealand in a year to feed Dunedin for two years.

Gore Rotary Club spokesman Peter Fettes urged people to come and hear the presentation.

“Helen is somebody who is interested in the science of food production and safety,” Dr Fettes said.