Sustainability at Community Networks and LINK

Our service highlight for October is sustainability, in anticipation of the WAO Summit at the end of this month. Sustainability – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – covers many areas, and at Community Networks and LINK, we’re working to enhance food security and support community resilience in the Upper Clutha.

An audit in 2019 found 54% of Queenstown Lakes District kerbside rubbish bins was made up of kitchen and garden waste. We’ve been making changes to improve the efficiency of our current Foodbank system for some time. As part of this, we’re looking into ways to reduce food wastage within the community: we’ve established a food security working group including representatives from Wastebusters, Dr. Compost, Hāwea Food Forest, Grow Wānaka, Food for Love and the Wānaka Vegetable Growers Club to investigate food rescue initiatives; facilitated seed growing workshops for our foodbank clients; and are looking into ways of reducing packaging of dried goods in our Foodbank. If you are interested in joining any of these conversations, please email

Over the school holidays, the Wānaka Community Workshop held a workshop with young people from Kahu Youth to build community produce stands. We’re looking forward to these stands going to their new homes at the Wānaka Community Hub and Wānaka Wastebusters in the next few weeks, for the community to leave what they can and take what they need.

Many of us have fruit trees and garden patches growing a glut of produce each year. Whether it’s from your garden or the kitchen cupboard, anything you put into the stands is one less thing going to landfill – and by taking produce home, you are helping us combat food wastage.

You can leave fresh produce such as fruit, veg and herbs – as well as eggs, jams, preserves and baked goods (clearly dated please, with ingredients listed for homemade products). Anyone collecting food from the stands should check the quality and freshness of the food before they eat it; this is the consumer’s responsibility. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media for the official opening!

And finally, an invitation to those who have or want a green thumb to join our crew of gardeners at the Community Hub.  Now in its second season, the LINK Community Gardens at the Hub provides an opportunity for individuals, families and groups who may not have the space, resources or expertise to plant at home. Last year’s gardeners feasted on a huge range of produce and learned lifelong skills from mentors like Dr. Compost and Grow Wānaka volunteers. For more information or to express interest, email

Community Networks and LINK, your one-stop community support and connection centre.