Phillipa Hunt - Founder of Satisfy Food Rescue

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Phillipa Hunt - Satisfy Food Rescue

YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR CHAT WITH PHILLIPA BY CLICKING HERE.

Good Change 

It all began in March 2014 when a group of like-minded individuals got together to discuss setting up a food rescue organisation in North Canterbury. From this, Satisfy Food Rescue was born. Phillipa Hunt, and her dedicated team are all passionate about reducing food wastage and making healthy food available to everyone. A food rescue organisation basically acts as a middle person between the food industry, i.e. food retailers, wholesalers or growers and existing local community organisations or local charities, for example, food banks that are already helping out those in need. 
 

Stine and I are really delighted to talk with Philippa Hunt, the founder of Satisfy Food Rescue and hear about her initiative.   

Phillipa, tell us a bit more about what Satisfy Food Rescue actually is and a little bit how it came about.  

Phillipa Hunt 

So, we're a food rescue organisation. We rescue food that would otherwise be heading to waste like landfill or to animal feed but it's still good for eating, and we make sure it gets to people who really need it. So, we don't work directly with individuals. We collect the food, sort it out for what different organisations need and give it to organisations who are already doing that sort of core work with people who are vulnerable in our community. So, we're really there to support community organisations that are doing really amazing work in our communities.  

Good Change 

Amazing and so was it a bit of a light bulb moment when you suddenly thought ‘I want to do this’? 
 

How did it actually come about?  

Phillipa Hunt 

You mentioned 2014 was when we started, but it all started for me earlier in 2013 and I was reading a magazine article and it was about food rescue. I'd never heard of the concept of food rescue before, and I was really fascinated by it. And then I got completely flawed when I read some of the statistics.  

And the one that just absolutely kind of put me over the edge was the fact that a third of the food that is produced for human consumption globally goes to waste. That was the light bulb moment for me.  

It was just incredible, and I just couldn't believe it that we have so many people in this world who are struggling to get food on their tables for their families but we waste so much of it. It just seemed completely wrong on so many levels, and the article was talking about Kaibosh in Wellington, which is New Zealand first food rescue organisation, and it was also talking about City Harvest in the United States in New York City. And that was kind of one of the very first food rescue dedicated organisations in the world. So, it was a fascinating article and it just started me off on this track of finding out what food rescue was.  

Good Change 

Oh my gosh, those numbers are incredible. 
 

For the supermarkets, do you just make an agreement with them that you'll come and pick up best before date food? 

Phillipa Hunt 

So, we have a
little bit of a food waste criteria information that we give them. So, we won't take anything that's past its ‘use by’ cause that's usually related to food safety, but we do take things that are getting close to its ‘best before’ or a little bit past its ‘best before’ depending on the product, because that's usually just talking about the food quality, not the safety and it's usually fine to eat. We try to do some good training with our volunteers to give them an idea of what is acceptable food to give to our recipient organisations and then also try to encourage our supermarkets in the same way.  

But they're great. Everyone is just so supportive of what we do. It's awesome.  

Good Change 
 
Amazing and do you feel like there's an overabundance of food? Is there enough? 

Phillipa Hunt 

Yes there is an abundance of food and we are able to distribute pretty much all the food that we get.  

Very seldom do we have too much that we can distribute. But you know, sometimes we do get a glut of bread. There is often a lot of bread. But really that would be the only product that we ever get too much of. We're able to distribute everything else and it does seem to be that the longer we do this, the more food we find.  This is across New Zealand. There's so much food that can be diverted to organisations like us.  

Good Change 
 
Amazing and do you approach orchards for stone fruit for example that's not good enough for export quality or supermarket consumption?  

If there's a small bruise on it can you actually collect the fruit?  

Phillipa Hunt 

Yeah, so we do try to work with local growers and even domestic people who have really good veggie gardens or little orchards. So, we let them know that we will come and pick the fruit like elderly people who may be struggling to pick their fruit trees. We really would like to be able to increase that side of what we do. 
 

We get busy but we do love being able to do that. And certainly things from growers that may not be up to standard to be on a supermarket shelf, or to be exported. There's a new organisation that's been set up to support food rescue organisations in New Zealand. It's called the New Zealand Food Network and they're doing amazing work at the next level up of talking to all the large growers around New Zealand and the larger wholesalers to get cancelled export orders that aren't quite good enough for sale in the supermarket. So that's working at that next level up to bring that food through and then distributed out to all the different food organisations in New Zealand.  

This kind of got started during COVID in the first lockdown, and as a result, the amount of food that we've had coming through to us has increased markedly, and it's just been fantastic. So yeah they’re doing awesome work. 

Good Change 

I think it's an education process as well just communicating it to people and knowing how to be involved. We
got about 8 citrus trees and the lemons are just falling off. There’s just no way anyone will eat that many lemons for instance. Could I call someone up and say, do you want 5 boxes of lemons?  

Phillipa Hunt  

Oh, absolutely, and people do this all the time and people do it with their local food bank.  

They'll just take a bag of lemons or apples or silverbeet and they'll drop it off at their local food bank and if your food bank is willing to take that stuff then absolutely encourage people to do that.  

If the food bank in your area would prefer that you went via your local food rescue organisation, then do that and check that the food rescue organisation will take those domestic offerings and getting things donated from individuals is just so lovely cause there's usually love associated with it. You know they're really wanting to help, and that food has been grown by them with love and dedication. And it's just so lovely to then be able to pass that on to people who need it.  

Good Change 

How many people would you help on a daily or weekly basis? 
 

Phillipa Hunt 

It’s a difficult question but I think an estimate is about 1000 people a week, and I mean we're quite little as far as food rescue organisations go across New Zealand.  There's much bigger ones that have a much greater reach than we do, but we're still really proud of what we're able to accomplish and the impact that we're having in our local community, for sure.  
 
Good Change 

Does this take up your whole week or have you got other things that you do?  

Phillipa Hunt 

I have a day job which I work three days a week as a road asset management engineer, sort of maintaining the highways in Canterbury. So that's basically what supports me to be able to do my two days a week focused on Satisfy.  

Good Change  

You fix roads and then on the side you help about 1000 people a week? 

Phillipa Hunt 

Yeah, I know it's a weird combination.  

Good Change 

It’s one thing to just go out and make a whole lot of money and come home at the end of the day and that's the end of it. But to be able to do something that you're really passionate about that’s actually connected to overall happiness and well-being must be amazing.  Do you feel that real connection when you're going out and doing this amazing charity work? 

Phillipa Hunt 

I definitely agree with that. I don't think I'm one of these people who has that kind of pursuit of happiness. I'm definitely more for that fulfillment and satisfaction when you do things that you're passionate about, particularly when you're doing things that you're passionate about that are beyond yourself. When you are using your passions to help others or to help the environment it feeds into your own satisfaction and your own fulfillment.  

Good Change 

With our organization we're trying to encourage good changes and those small changes build up into something a whole lot bigger. But your organization, you've got all these people doing something good and the energy just must be electric in terms of the positive charge that you get.  

Phillipa Hunt 

Yeah it is and it's interesting. I chose the name Satisfy for the organization because when we chose the name we weren't actually operating and my thoughts were that that satisfaction would be for the people who we were providing food for, and then we had our first food donation and at that point it was pretty much just me picking the food up and distributing it and at the end of that day of distributing the food, I was like, oh, hang on a minute that name wasn't just for the people who are getting the food, actually it's for me. It was just such a sense of satisfaction and over and over again when we're talking it’s always a play on words. We're always using the words satisfy or satisfaction. It's not just the people we're serving, which is amazing that we are able to serve them and provide satisfaction and to satisfy people with food but to know that we're able to satisfy ourselves as well is really cool.  

Good Change 

And so Phillipa if our listeners would take three things away that might be able to help them follow their true passions and really make a difference? Have you got some key tangible things they can grab from today's discussion?
 

Phillipa Hunt 

Yeah, to reflect on what your passions actually are. A really good way to do that is to think about what you loved to do and what you were really into when you were between 8 and 12 years old in your formative years, and to go back to that time, which is actually quite hard for some people to go back and remember that.  

But if you take a little bit of time and think about it and talk to other people who were around you at that time you'll probably find that those things are still the things that you're passionate about. If you're not  operating in those areas anymore, or feeding into those areas anymore, think about how you can change that, and in particular how can you change that so that you're feeding into that passion outside of yourself by helping other people cause that's going to make the biggest difference to your own life. Satisfy, for me, brings together 2 quite disparate things that I'm passionate about, looking after this world and looking after vulnerable people. And it's just such a beautiful thing and so spending time to reflect on that and finding those things that you are passionate about and then making some steps to actually do something about it. Whether it means that you're volunteering at an organisation, giving money to an organisation you’re passion about or starting your own movement, starting your own company like you guys have. And it doesn't have to be big things. it can just be little things too. 

Good Change 

Really great hearing your insights and why you're doing this today because it's such a huge amount of time for you as a person to take out on nonprofit work that you're not getting paid for. It’s pretty unique to actually have that passion and to give so much of yourself for the greater good which I find really inspiring.  

Phillipa Hunt 

I couldn't exactly articulate why I do it because every now and then you do sit there and go ‘man if I'd put all this time into setting up a company, reaping the rewards from a monetary point of view’, but I think I've never had a real focus on some financial gains and it's probably part of it. I'm a very frugal person and so it hasn't been one of my goals in life.  

My goals have been about family and awesome experiences rather than lots of money and in helping others and just making the world a better place really. I just think we have such a big part to play in that, and if we're all able to do it it just makes such a difference. You kind of want to get to the end of your life and feel like you've done something to make the place a little better. 

Good Change 

Absolutely and they say that there's a pinnacle that you can get to in terms of monetary rewards. It doesn't actually make you any happier.  

We're really grateful for your time and not just a good conversation, but a really, really great conversation.  

You can learn more about Satisfy Food Rescue here 

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