A Whangārei foodbank is benefiting from a garden in Laurie Hall Park planted with more than appearances in mind.
Recreational Services, the district council's parks and reserves on-ground team, planted a koru-shaped garden with broccoli and coloured chards earlier this year with the aim of sharing the harvest with the Salvation Army's foodbank team.
"It's great to see the garden beds being used to produce food for those in need as well as looking beautiful.
''The council is pleased to be able to support this kind of initiative and is grateful to Recreational Services for making staff available to make the harvest possible,'' Parks Technical Officer Spencer Jellyman said.
''Recreational Services have experimented in the past with mixing edible plants with more traditional bedding plants and previously grew and harvested plants for the foodbank about four years ago.''
Part of the garden was harvested yesterday morning, and two volunteers from the Salvation Army were on hand to pick up boxes containing hundreds of broccoli heads.
Foodbank volunteer Merlyn Hoori said it would be awesome to be able to distribute the produce to families in need in the community.
"We're just so appreciative of the support of our community."
She said the broccoli would be given out in food parcels to families, and would be gone within two days.
"Fresh produce is just awesome for the families."
Hoori said the garden was an example of community helping community.
"The community's got a good heart."
Not only the people getting healthy, home-grown vegetables with their food parcels or Salvation Army meals will reap the benefits from the good earth.
''The planting of edibles and herbs like parsley has proved popular with the public who offer to take home the plants and rehome them when the beds are replanted,'' Jellyman said.
There is plenty of silverbeet and parsley still growing the garden, which will be harvested later in the year.
When that harvest time comes, the Salvation Army will be invited back to collect another load.