Working Towards a Better Tomorrow

Our Story

At City Harvest, we're on a mission to get all quality surplus food in Canterbury to those who need it most.

Like 'My Food Bag' for Surplus Food!


City Harvest Food Rescue puts surplus food to good use in a sustainable way. We get quality surplus food safely to the hungry. While too many people - and children in Canterbury go hungry each day, safe, healthy and usable food is being disposed of into our landfills as waste.


City Harvest Food Rescue works with food retailers, supermarkets, wholesalers, restaurants, caterers, universities and other food providers to rescue un-sellable but perfectly good food. It is our goal to reduce the negative impacts of food waste on our environment by redistributing excess food; helping to create lasting positive social change by nourishing those in need. And it is not just providing food, it is providing community nourishment.

The food we recycle is diverted from going to landfill where it would release gases toxic to the environment. A major sustainable advantage!

Who do we supply?

We help vulnerable people throughout Canterbury. City Harvest Food Rescue regularly makes available high quality, nourishing food to organisations that provide meals to vulnerable people including homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs, centres for veterans, and organisations that assist people with alcohol or drug addictions.

What impact do we make?

We currently distribute 6.5 tonnes of food weekly! That translates into 18,000 meals!

The food we deliver helps organisations serve thousands of healthy meals each week and reduce their annual food bills freeing up funds that can be reinvested in other vital support services like medical care and counselling.

How do the food donors benefit?

We provide safe, easy, reliable food rescue. We make it simple for food donors to get their nutritious food to desperate people and reduce their waste collection costs. Customers prefer to patronise sustainable restaurants and retailers. Food Donor employees experience a huge morale boost from giving to those in need. Food Donors appear on our social media feeds as well as our website.

What about the Environment?

Wasting food is bad for the environment. When food ends up in landfill, it decomposes without oxygen, and as a result, it releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of carbon emissions behind China and the United States.

The more food that we waste, the more food we need to produce. This constant need to produce more puts additional pressure on the environment.

For example, 25 million acres of land are deforested each year in order to grow food. This is happening despite the fact that we are actually producing enough food to feed the world.

What is really important to us?

Enabling people to eat great food with dignity. We find our City Harvest van is greeted with excitement and pride because people know that it contains high-quality food from some of the best stores in Christchurch. We recycle food that nourishes both body and soul. Each person that is served our food through the front-line agencies regains their dignity and starts to gain the strength needed to overcome hard times. We even occasionally bring flowers!


New Zealand is not alone in wasting food – food waste is an issue worldwide.

Who We Are

City Harvest Food Rescue was founded in 2016 by John & Janice Milligan. Having seen and experienced the impact of food rescue overseas, they were appalled on their return to New Zealand in 2015 and especially in Christchurch to find so much food insecurity.

Following the 2010 and 2011 quakes so much energy had been expended in city regeneration, the front-line charities were struggling to meet the need.

The founders also became aware of the abundance of surplus food that is wasted because of a lack of a transportation network to get the food to the hungry. We decided to connect the available food with those Cantabrians who desperately need it.


City Harvest Food Rescue is based on years of hands-on overseas best practice experience through City Harvest NYC – the first and largest food rescue organisation in the world and from Kaibosh, Wellington the first food rescue organisation in New Zealand - combined with solid governance. With our extensive on-the-footpath non-profit expertise we are resourceful, efficient and firm believers in CANEI – Constant And Never-Ending Improvement.


City Harvest Food Rescue is an independent, secular, non-faith based, non-politically aligned organisation encouraging absolute respect for the individual, compassion, authenticity, and courage.


City Harvest Food Rescue Canterbury is incorporated as a Charitable Trust under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957   # 2652071 and a Registered Charity CC53888





03 930 1065

29 Kilmarnock Street Riccarton Christchurch 8011

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