Wellington Region Fruit and Vege Co-op


Why on earth did we start a co-op?

When we started selling fruit and veggies through a co-op, not everyone thought it was a good idea. Because we had been giving away free food through our Food Bank for so many years it was hard to get your head around why we were suddenly charging money for some of our food. So why were we? We had been working for a few years already on the question of how the community might work together to put our food bank out of business – we wanted to know how we could shift our mindsets and tweak the food systems so that people in Porirua East no longer needed to access emergency food parcels.

Good systems change only happens when you work with others, so we linked up with Regional Public Health to explore a model that we thought might work – a Fruit and Vegetable Co-op. We were hosted by the awesome Christchurch community who were running a thriving co-op, and they generously shared their whole model with us so that we could try it in Porirua East.

We started a pilot in Cannons Creek in partnership with Regional Public Health and helped by the Salvation Army to introduce the idea to the community and see if they wanted it – they did, and it grew and grew, and other communities started coming to us to ask us how they could do it too. So, the Wellington Regional Fruit and Vege Co-op was born. We now have 10 communities across the region running a weekly co-op in their own spaces and with their own people getting more than 6 tonne of fruit and veggies to more than 1,00 whānau every week. Wesley Community Action, and Regional Public Health provide the backbone support that helps to keep the co-op running smoothly.

The co-op gives more than fruit and veggies

The co-op does more than get fruit and veggies onto tables. This projects is a tool that communities can use to start building local economic systems, powered by local people. Evaluations of the co-op have identified a whole range of benefits that co-op members get from being a part of this mahi.


You can download our most recent evaluation report here

Join the co-op

One of the things we love about the co-op is that it is a project that people from all walks of life can be a part of. The more people we have joining the co-op the better value money for everyone else. So please join – and be a part of this amazing community led innovation.

Join here

In the Te Hiko whānau: How is this contributing to growing better economic systems and adding value in our communities?

If local people are able to bring their money and effort together, they can get better bang for their buck. For communities that don’t have access to a supermarket, or transport to get to one, the co-op can help them get what they need with the resources they have. It also gives people a chance to contribute their time and energy to their community – by taking part in the pack each week.

In this way, the co-op is a really great example of how we can have different economic systems that are more inclusive rather than leaving people out.

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