Food drive organised for flood-hit Southland farmers

By Maja Burry of RNZ

The North Canterbury Rural Support Trust is organising a food drive to help flood-hit farmers in Southland.

Agricultural organisations estimate hundreds of farms in the region have been affected by the recent flooding and for some it's expected to take months to recover.

The North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chair, Andy Munro, said when farmers in his area had gone through hard times in the past, Southland's rural community showed its support by sending baking and other food.

"We have been through a few disasters in the last few years, namely the earthquakes... and of course the three years of drought we suffered a few years ago and look we have benefited hugely from the generosity of people right throughout New Zealand, but particularly from down South."

Munro said it would now like to reciprocate some of that generosity and was encouraging both farming and urban folk in the wider North Canterbury area to donate non-perishable or semi-perishable food such as fruit cakes, biscuits, jams or tinned food.

Munro said it was important that communities pulled together and made sure Southland farmers felt supported.

Flooding around a property in Southland last week.
Flooding around a property in Southland last week. Photo credit: RNZ/Katie Todd

"I was up in Omihi [in North Canterbury] during the droughts and we had biscuits dropped off in our mailbox made by a church group in Christchurch and it's quite heartwarming really to think that somebody from outside the area has taken the time to either buy or make something... it's quite uplifting I think and good for the mind," he said.

Farmlands, Farm Source and PGG Wrightson stores in Canterbury as far north as Kaikōura to as far south as Leeston would be acting as drop off points for the food donations up until the 21st of this month.

The food would then be transported to the Southland Rural Support Trust for distribution, Munro said.

"We're not sure how much we're going to get, we do certainly hope the community do get in behind this initative and help these Southland people out."