Kai Conscious

Let’s feed an island…

A third of the food produced globally is wasted from farm to fork, and Aotearoa sends $1.17 billion’s worth of avoidable discarded food to landfill. Simultaneously, one in five children in Aotearoa live in poverty, and food insecurity is driven mainly by a lack of sufficient money for food.

Kai Conscious seeks to bridge the gap between food waste and hunger. We rescue food that is good enough to eat but not good enough to sell, diverting it from landfill. We also encourage donations of surplus food from growers. The kai is redistributed throughout the week by our fabulous rescuers, or cooked up on a Friday with the community.

Get Involved


There are many ways to contribute to Kai Conscious.

You can bring in excess produce from your garden or bottom-of-the-fridge ingredients to our pantry or Café. You can help set up and pack down the space, and wash dishes after the meal. You can also give a monetary donation that supports the running costs of Kai Conscious at the Centre or using the handy link below.


Kai Conscious thrives with community support.

Come learn to cook with us and volunteer at the Café any Friday. Join our rescuers in collecting kai from our local partnerships or sorting it at the Sustainability Centre during the week. We welcome everyone to join our efforts to love food and hate waste!

Get in touch if you have any questions.

Partner with us

Kai Conscious wouldn’t be able to continue without our collection partnerships with local businesses.

If you are a food vendor, restaurant, grower or retailer wanting to save good nutritious food from landfill and minimise your landfill costs and environmental impact, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Become Kai Conscious

Kai Conscious Café

When to visit

Join the Kai Conscious team every Friday from 11am to volunteer, or tuck in to the community meal from 1pm. Everyone welcome.

Where to find us

The Café takes place at the Waiheke Sustainability Centre, 1A Mako Street, Oneroa.

What we do

Our tastiest project, the Café empowers the community to save food from landfill by teaching recipes, using leftovers, composting unavoidable food scraps and using zero waste techniques. A delicious community lunch is shared each Friday.

Community fridge and pantry

When to visit

Accessible 24/7, the community fridge and pantry are filled four days a week (Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri) around 1pm. Locals stock the fridge with surplus fresh produce on an ad-hoc basis.

The fridge empties quickly, so if you are in need of consistent help, please pop into Waiheke Budgeting Service located at 6 Putiki Road open Tues 9-4pm and Wed-Fri 9-2pm.

Where to find us

The community fridge and pantry are situated to the right of the front door of the Waiheke Sustainability Centre. Find it in the front garden of 1A Mako Street, Oneroa.

What we do

Set up in 2019 thanks to funding from the Waiheke Local Board, the fridge and pantry offer an opportunity for members and organisations in the Waiheke community to divert food from landfill. The public presence of this pātaka kai reinforces a supportive and ‘waste-not’ community mindset.

Food matters

By challenging an unnecessary disposable economy we are able to reduce hunger in the community and reduce food sent to landfill that results in climate change-causing emissions. 

WRT’s Kai Conscious project is a replicable model. If all communities across Aotearoa adopted this model (with support from food-producing businesses and government regarding job creation for food collection and redistribution) thousands of tonnes of landfill could be avoided and thousands of people living in food poverty would be fed.

The scale and impact of unnecessary food waste is a well-known national and international problem that requires government action and local support. WRT’s Kai Conscious project is in line with international Sustainable Development Goals and can help deliver the circular economy that the New Zealand Government has said it is working towards.


Related resources

Food resilience initiatives

There’s lots happening in the food resilience space on Waiheke. Download our PDF which summarises opportunities to get involved in your area, including contact information, social media links and locations. You’ll find some of our projects on the list, as well as many more!

Get composting

buttWe can help you get you started at home with workshops, support and composting products including Bokashi systems and worm farms. We even sell our own compost and crushed shells for the garden. If you’re a business looking to manage food scraps and compostables sustainably, we want to hear from you too. Visit the Sustainability Centre for supplies or get in touch.

Donate your surplus produce

Is your gardening going so well that you’ve got lots of surplus? You can pickle and preserve to your heart’s content, but you can also give to the community by donating your fresh fruit, veges and herbs to the Sustainability Centre community fridge. Check out our 1-page guide on best practice for donating kai and drop-off locations.

Living sustainably

Whether you are a visitor to Waiheke or a resident, life can be a little different from living in a city so we share ideas and information to help you live more sustainably and in tune with the island. We have guidance on conservation, reducing and managing waste, conserving water and connecting with your community. You can also find out how to grow food, and compost scraps.

Kai Gardens

Kai Gardens is a demonstration space at the front of the Sustainability Centre where we grow edible plants in raised beds and run composting workshops. We also have a greenhouse out the back where all our seasonal seedlings are raised and sold. The project supports food resilience and education on Waiheke, providing practical skills in growing food at home.

Love Food Hate Waste

Food waste is a massive problem in Aotearoa. Not only is wasting food costing us money, it is also bad for the environment. Love Food Hate Waste has tips, resources and recipes to help you reduce your food waste and save money. It also runs awareness campaigns, promotes food lovin’ events and more, so check out how you can take further steps to eliminate food from landfill.

Kai Conscious supports these United Nations Sustainable Development Goals