A Porirua programme is using food and cooking education to create social change and empowerment – transforming lives through food.
WELLfed delivers free cooking classes which teach basic cooking skills. Participants learn how to plan, shop, safely prepare and cook low-cost healthy meals, with a strong focus on seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables.
The programme reduces isolation and food insecurity by strengthening communities and family wellbeing, impacting lives across Porirua with positive social changes rippling through learners, their families, and into the wider community.
“WELLfed has inspired me to be more confident with my cooking, to explore and not be afraid. They help you not only with food, but emotionally and mentally they build you up to live a healthy and better you” says Millie, mother of four.
WELLfed began in 2016 when its founders, Kim Murray and Rebecca Morahan saw the difference that food skills and sharing could make to community connections, family resilience and personal confidence and wellbeing.
“Preparing, sharing and eating food is fundamental to the human experience. Our programme is not just a cooking class. It’s a way for people to learn, build confidence, gain skills and community connections. It nourishes people’s hearts as well as their bodies,” Kim says.
WELLfed brings together groups of learners to cook new low-cost recipes, learn what foods are seasonal and affordable, and plan meals. Learners take the food they cook home to share with their families, and are given the resources they need to prepare the recipes at home.
WELLfed has been co-designed with the local community, and a learners’ advisory group provides input into each new initiative. The programme now runs three classes each week from its Porirua East base. At the three-year milestone:
- 320+people have participated in 160+ classes
- 2,200+ free meals have been taught, cooked, and taken home to share
- 13,500+ people have been fed with meals made by the community for their families
- 2,600+ items of kitchen equipment have been given out
- 7,000kg of food has been rescued from landfill
Many of the programme’s learners go on to become tutors in the programme, go on to further education, or use their new skills to gain paid employment.
“WELLfed has changed my life! I love the help we give to others and all the wonderful cooking tips we learn each week. I can now make meals for big crowds and I’ve learnt to budget and cook with my kids. WELLfed has inspired me to make my own garden, I now want to open my own food truck and be a chef as a new career! I’ve become a senior at WELLfed and volunteer my time to help teach in class. I feel great knowing I'm helping others,” says volunteer, Orion
Watch the 'Taste of WELLfed' video to see them in action!