In October, Katikati Taiao and the Katikati Community Centre were proud to co-host a unique Organic Waste forum. The event attracted over 65 people, with representatives from growers, post-harvest operators, and exporters industries, and local and central government all gathering in at the Katikati Community Centre.

Managing organic waste, in particular food waste, was a key focus of the event. At present, there are significant food wastage issues in New Zealand and across the world, with much of it ending up in landfills, creating an overproduction of methane and leachate. The purpose of this forum was to start a conversation with the community on the issue of organic waste and provide a platform for sharing ideas on how to add value to the organic waste streams, for the good of the community and environment.

Katikati Taiao’s key interest is to see a collaborative approach to the organic waste issue that would have social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits. The forum highlighted many opportunities that would help move the community towards more sustainable practices, with the prospect of developing systems that could be replicated in other waste management areas. Organic waste experts outlined potential solutions for turning a waste stream into a valuable product and create long-term and high value employment options. Attendees at the forum were able to gain insight into just how a collaborative approach could generate sustainable benefits for both the community and businesses.

The ideas exchanged included:

  • Understanding how intricately linked and valuable the environment is to Maori
  • The Circular Economy as a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the “take-make-waste” linear model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources.
  • Regenerative farming and industrial composting to help enhance soil performance and bring maximum health benefits to plants, soil and consumers.
  • Designing and establishing worm farms for various waste streams.
  • Converting commercial food waste into high value products such as poultry feed and liquid fertiliser.

Katikati Taiao will be supporting the formation of a steering group to further one or more of the ideas in order to provide local processing of organic waste – for the benefit of all and the environment. An email has been sent out by Jenny from Katikati Taiao to the forum attendees to seek representation on the steering group from iwi, industry, local and central government and community.