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Funky Farmworkers Food fuels young staff

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Backing their young employees to learn a few cooking skills is paying dividends for North Canterbury dairy farmers, with happier, more productive staff.

Funky Farmworkers Food coordinator Jody Glassford and farm assistant Jonathon Rutherford prepare a quick and healthy meal in the slow cooker

Funky Farmworkers Food coordinator Jody Glassford and farm assistant Jonathon Rutherford prepare a quick and healthy meal in the slow cooker

“People can be outstanding on-farm and work really hard but they’re only as good as the fuel they put into themselves,” says farm owner Darin Bradley.

Funky Farmworkers Food is a pilot programme to help support a healthy, happy workforce on farms. It was set up by Injury Prevention Waimakariri, Oxford Community Trust and Rural Canterbury PHO (Primary Health Organisation), aiming to spread the healthy eating message.

Recently appointed coordinator Jody Glassford, whose husband is a dairy farmer, says young farm workers who don’t know how to cook often turn to junk food.

Farm owners who sign up have to supply workers with a slow cooker and a sandwich press and Funky Farmworkers provide mentors to help with recipes and generally keep a friendly eye on young workers.

“A lot of the young staff may have just left home so it’s about helping them and giving them a few ideas, reminding them if they put something in the slow cooker in the morning it’ll be ready by the time they finish work in the evening,” says Jody.

“The mentor is there to support them and help them out if they’re struggling.”

Farm assistant Jonathon Rutherford lives alone in a house on the farm and since his boss Darin Bradley set him up with a slow cooker, he’s enjoyed coming home to a nutritious hot meal at the end of the day.

“You just spend 30 minutes preparing it in your breakfast break and by the time you get home, it’s good to go,” says Jonathon.

Jonathon reckons having good food helps him stay warm on cold days.

“If you feel warm, you have a better attitude and more of a drive, otherwise when you’re cold, you slow down.”

Darin has noticed a change in Jonathon since he started eating better.

“I do think productivity has increased and I could see it over calving time when he was knocking off at five or six o’clock. He was really excited to get home and have a good feed as soon as he walked in the door, ready to rock. It just created a more positive attitude.”

Jody says employers who sign up to the programme are keen to look out for the health and wellbeing of their employees.

“Employees appreciate the support and in turn employers benefit from staff who are well-fuelled and ready for their day at work.”

Benefits of eating well
  • More energy and greater productivity.
  • Better sleep.
  • Fewer mistakes and accidents.
  • Reduced staff downtime and sick days.
  • Easier to stay warm on cold days.
How to join

For more information on the Funky Farmworkers Food programme or to join, email funkyfarmersfood@gmail.com

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