Helping hands for community gardens

By Peter de Graaf

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Kerikeri Kindergarten 4-year-olds Robbie Carnaby, left, and Luke Brocklebank lend a hand in Kerikeri's Community Gardens.
Kerikeri Kindergarten 4-year-olds Robbie Carnaby, left, and Luke Brocklebank lend a hand in Kerikeri's Community Gardens.

A newly established community garden aims to revive the lost art of growing healthy food while helping people in need.

The volunteers behind Kerikeri Community Garden are now calling for schools, businesses, clubs and families to adopt a plot and get growing.

The Kerikeri Rd garden, an offshoot of the Bald Angels Trust, has already produced a bumper crop of winter vegetables - including cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage - which has been distributed to needy Far North families via Women's Refuge, Plunket and other networks.

Founder Therese Wickbom said she was looking for locals to get involved, either in the communal garden or by taking on a plot of their own.

There was no cost and the only rules were that natural gardening methods had to be used and the produce grown could be used for anything but commercial gain.
The ground had been prepared and a team of experienced gardeners was ready to offer advice to groups of six or more who wanted to take part.

"We want to see people working together, young people working with old people, getting empowered and taking what they learn here and using it in their own backyards," she said.

"We're taking back skills our grandparents had and passing them on to a new generation."

Last week the kids of Kerikeri Kindergarten, which has been using the produce in its "brainfood" programme, tackled the weeds with mini-sized tools. Mrs Wickbom said the aim was to teach the children that food did not start out as packets at the supermarket.
Kerikeri High School art students are working on signs.

Kerikeri Community Garden/Te Roopu Huarahi Oranga is on land loaned without charge by business owners Ken and Phyllis Rintoul. The project has received a $1446 grant from the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board.

Another gardening initiative is being run by Edible Kerikeri, which has planted vegetables on verges and in planter boxes around town for anyone to use.

Go to the website http://kerikericommunitygarden.blogspot.co.nz/ or the Kerikeri Community Garden Facebook page for more information.

- Northern Advocate

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