Making vegetable soup has sparked the idea for a community garden in Stratford.
Martyn Hodder was making a large pot of vegetable soup when he thought about the benefits of the healthy meal.
"I began thinking of how it can be a cheap sustainable meal if people had the produce. I thought about the supermarket shortages. Vegetables aren't that cheap either and some people may struggle to afford them. A community garden would be a great way to fill the need for the Stratford community and ensure everyone had the chance to access healthy produce instead of eating unhealthy processed food."
Martyn says he began researching community gardens.
"I saw how they were set up in different countries and the benefits they have had for the community. They are run very well and supported all over the world so I thought 'why not have one here?"
He took his idea to a Stratford Facebook group and has received a number of comments supporting the idea.
"I've had a lot of people reach out expressing how the need is there and how they'd be willing to help. The idea is to purchase seeds locally to support local businesses and people have offered seeds as well. So many people have rallied behind the idea which is great to see."
Martyn says the need for a garden is there.
"A lot of people have said it's something that would benefit the community and I fully agree. It would be a great benefit to the town."
Martyn says for the garden to work, it needs to be supported.
"The garden would be there for people to take what they need but people also need to help as well. A lot of people have put their hand up so I believe the garden would have the needed support to thrive."
Martyn says raised planter boxes would be the best way to go.
"People would be able to walk around them and they're easy to maintain. I could make the raised planter boxes, I'd just need help with materials, and maintaining the garden. I've talked to someone who would be able to supply macrocarpa for the boxes. Macrocarpa is the best wood as it's non-toxic and lasts."
Deputy mayor Alan Jamieson, owner and operator of Taranaki Ski Hire, saw the post and offered a piece of land for the garden.
"I have a spare paddock and I thought to offer it. I think the garden is a great idea and I'd be very happy to see it happen. The need is there and I think it would be a great asset for the Stratford community."
Martyn says he plans to approach community groups to see if any want to get involved.
"It's about getting people involved. Once we've moved down alert levels I will hold a meeting that people can tend so I can get a full perspective of how many people would be willing to help, and how big the need is."
■ For more information, or if you can help with the community garden, contact Martyn via email email@example.com.