The Heritage Food Crops Research Trust has always been embedded within the different communities in the Whanganui region with connections that have also reached out across the world. It has embraced the concept of ‘think global act local’ in the promotion of food as our first medicine and that the best food is food that you and your family have grown. Over the years spiritual leaders, Iwi, community and health organisations, with shared values, have joined the team adding workforce and funding. Together we have distributed Monty’s Surprise apple trees, heirloom tomatoes, beans, Maori potatoes and other heritage fruit trees throughout the community and wider region. The involvement of these organisations have enabled schools, kindergartens, Kohanga Reo, (Maori preschools), community gardens and Pasifika groups within the Whanganui region to receive plants, trees and seeds. Distributions have also gone out through GP’s (general medical practitioners), and have been offered to our hospital staff. We try to assist all those with shared values as well as having distributions to the general public, so that everyone may benefit from the health-giving potential of these special heritage varieties. Our aim with the identification, propagation and distribution of these medicinal plants and apple trees, is to ensure we provide a high level of availability within the region of a food that should, in time, see an improvement in community health and wellbeing.
In December 2015, Monty’s Surprise grafting wood was sent to members of the Fraternités Ouvrières in France for propagation.