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Update From A Food Producer In Hawkes Bay
The Situation - Post Cyclone Gabrielle
Hi everyone, food producer here. Just wanted to write an easily digestible post so people can understand how severe the destruction in H.B is for the whole of N.Z The media aren't really discussing it fully and people I speak to can't seem to wrap their heads around how serious this is for us as a country.
What's been lost: It's called the fruit bowl for a reason, not just grapes and apples but also pears, onions, corn, carrots, blueberries, strawberries, honey, dairy, beef, sheep products including wool and also apiaries, nurseries and seedbanks.
Wineries and orchards have had heritage trees and vines utterly wiped out. We're talking 30-40-year-old plants gone. Countless bee hives and fields of crops buried under a metre of silt.
These aren't just for fresh produce but also wine, vinegar, honey, bread and processed fruit and vegetables for things from muesli bars to ice cream and condiments. The layer of silt now covering the once fertile land has been completely smothered. There's so much cleaning up to be done before people can replant and fertilise it will take years to get back even close to normal.
In that time we'll see massive shortages of all the above, affecting almost all food items you can think of.
Employment: Job losses will be huge. Hipkins stated they're looking into business support payments to assist in wages but without trees to plant, prune or pick we'll see massive job losses across the entire region. Secondary food production will also take a huge hit here. Without being able to source ingredients in their usual supply at their usual price, many food producers will really suffer here. Adding to the hurt, insurance companies will take literally years to pay out those primary producers affected and not nearly to the value of what is lost either. Secondary producers don't have these protections at all so we'll likely see a lot of these businesses on both sides really struggle to get back up to speed if not close completely.
Food supplies and price increases: As mentioned earlier supplies in the supermarket will be massively affected by this. Many growers around NZ source their plants from seedbanks & nurseries in the Hawkes Bay. These folk have to order these seedlings a year in advance at least and now that they're gone - they're gone for a very long time. Strawberries, tomatoes, chillies, blueberries, broccoli, cabbages as well as leafy greens could be in short supply for at least a year. Food producers will be needing to import their raw ingredients to keep up with demand and with already shockingly high prices due to shipping - the end user ie. us will be paying significantly more for all grocery items.
This is just the surface level and I think we'll be hearing a lot of discussion going over these points in the next few weeks and months.
How you can help: Monetary donations are massive here towards helping the clean up as it's the first step towards getting the entire country back on track. I'll recommend the Hawkes Bay Mayoral Disaster fund, Let's not forget HUHA and the SPCA who are doing great work all across the region.
Individual give-a-littles I wouldn't recommend however places like Koanga seed bank need a lot of help right now.
Spread the word even if just by word of mouth and try to get people more aware of how crucial this time is. The longer we wait to help out, no matter how small, the longer it'll take for us as a community to get back to normal. The people I know in the region are out there on diggers in knee-high mud with shovels digging out homes, dead livestock and throwing away treasured items like photo albums and doorframes with their kid’s height charts on them before the rot and mould set in. They're normal people doing their best to show a brave face to one another so words of kindness and support are hugely helpful and a massive morale boost to everyone on the ground.
Credit to Lucretia Bird & her Cyclone Gabrielle Support Network for spending +48 hours putting together this nationwide list of Cyclone Gabrielle Supplies Drop off Points & Distribution Center’s - https://t.me/CounterspinMediaNZ/85
To volunteer - https://gisbornevolunteercentre.org.nz/contact
Website for coordinating volunteer support - www.hawkesbayhelping.org
For those of you whose pantry is bare, or if you are out of town and want to help, please consider donating funds to local groups that are helping the families who are most affected. Below are two established registered charities that are directly connected to families, strictly local, primarily volunteer-driven, and have proven their effectiveness through these challenging days:
Nourished for Nil.
Collects and redistributes fresh, packaged and frozen food at four locations in Napier and Hastings.
- Bank Details: 03-0642-0026560-00
- Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/nourishedfornil/
- Givealittle donate link - https://givealittle.co.nz/org/nourished-for-nil-ltd
Re-Source Hawke’s Bay.
Collects and redistributes used furniture, soft goods and clothing.
- Bank Details: 12-3145-0233634-00
- Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/resourcehb/
- Donate link - https://www.re-source.co.nz/shop/product/586799/donatio
Alexia at PHA
May 1st, 2023: Tim Baker visited the areas hit hard by Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawkes Bay.