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This is a great idea if we're refering to items that would otherwise be discarded with the rubbish but are in fact perfectly fine for human consumption.  (Such as damaged packaging, misshapen baked goods, etc.)  But wouldn't it be better for these organisations - particularly the large supermarket chains - to gift such items to food banks without the expectation of a financial reward? 

Back in a former life I spent several year working at a cafe in West Auckland where 'leftovers' went into one of two places: the scraps (off customers plates, vegetable peelings, etc.) went into a large barrel that went off to feed pigs at a local farm whilst baked goods (breads, cakes, pastries, savouries), filled rolls, pastas, salads, etc. were packed up at the end of the day into takeaway containers and collected by the local food bank.  Whilst the pig farmer repaid the favour annually in the form of one of his pigs which we helped to feed, the food bank donations were just that - donationgs.  The owners of the cafe were rewarded by the knowledge that they weren't wasting resources and at the same time supporting the community.

Sure, there are a large number of families who could benefit from the opportunity to purchase these 'damaged' goods at a discounted price, but don't most businesses do this already in the form of sales items?  Leaving me to wonder whether there is in fact a need for this?  I guess we shall find out...

 | Sunday, 30 Jan 2011

Supermarkets to sell leftovers

by Sarah Harvey

Aucklanders are set to benefit from the leftovers of supermarkets and food retailers with a FreeStore set to open in West Auckland, next week, for a one month trial.

The Free Store will follow the concept of a similar store opened in Wellington's Cuba Mall last year which sells leftover but edible products from retailers and growers, to the community.

The West Auckland store, which opens on Monday, will be open to anyone in the community but particularly to people  struggling to pay their weekly food bill but unwilling or ineligible to access a food bank.

Lou Lennane, from the Community Development, Arts and Culture team of Auckland Council, said the items sold would include those with reject packaging, misshapen food, damaged items, bakery items, cereal, coffee, and produce.

Lennane said supermarkets, small food retailers, growers and producers were all on board.

''We have even had donations of produce from the gardens at Henderson Primary School.''

There is also expected to be a large artistic component to the store, including a sculpture created by Henderson Primary School students from waste food packaging.

"This is an exciting concept to bring to Auckland, and we’re proud to be doing the trial in Waitakere. It will be very interesting to see how the community responds," Vanessa Neeson, chair of the Henderson-Massey Local Board said.

The project is supported by funding from Auckland Council, but has largely been made possible by donations of all labour and services. The shop space was donated for free, with free paint, carpet and carpet laying and graphic design students produced the artwork for the shop promotion.

FreeStore Waitakere will be open from 14 February – 11 March at 398 Great North Road, Henderson, Monday-Saturday from 10am.