Editorial: Public plots top use for disused land

By Dylan Thorne

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I have fond memories of planting out my first vege garden.

It ran along the back fence of our property. It wasn't a garden really - just a short strip of turned earth with a few herbs, tomato, capsicum plants and carrots.

I had no particular interest in gardening, but thought it might save me a few dollars on groceries each week.

Despite this less-than-enthusiastic start, I soon found myself popping outside each day to check on each plant. I removed weeds, watered and waited for my small crop to be ready.

Growing vegetables is its own reward, and that's why I fully support the concept of community gardens.

This week we reported on the success of the Mount Community Garde the May St Reserve set up on council-owned land by the Mount Maunganui Lions Club at the end of last year.

All the plots, which cost $200 a year, have been rented and there is now a waiting list.

Todd Pakenham, who helped build the raised vegetable plots and is now renting one of the plots, said he and his family had enjoyed the fruits of their labour over summer and were replanting for winter.

Lions club secretary Brian Dey said the gardens had been a huge success and, given all the plots have been taken, it is obviously fulfilling a demand.

I struggle to think of a better use of public land. It teaches self-sustainability, strengthens community ties and saves people money on their weekly grocery bills.

My only concern is the charge for a plot could be a barrier to those people who could most benefit from growing their own vegetables but the costs have to be covered. Hopefully, the Tauranga council and the Lions Club will be looking to expand the concept to other areas.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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