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Our Kai Motueka

Our Kai Motueka is a local community group which is promoting the sustainable production, fair distribution, and wholesome enjoyment of nutritious, local food in the bountiful and abundant Motueka region. Many future activities and projects around the theme of local food are planned.

Our Kai Motueka has watched other areas around the country, most notably Christchurch, keenly taking up the idea of community orchards and has been looking into the possibility of planting one in Motueka.

This idea was put to Keep Motueka Beautiful which generously gave its support to the idea, and helped with obtaining funding through the Fonterra Grass Roots Campaign and NBS.

The plan is to create a 'food forest' style orchard to get fresh fruit and nuts grown in town for local people to harvest, enjoy, and preserve, and to reconnect people with seasonal harvesting of produce.

The term food forest refers to a multi-layered system of growing food in which trees, shrubs, berries and ground covers are all grown together to produce a year-round harvest and reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases.

Volunteers from Keep Motueka Beautiful and Our Kai Motueka are ready to plant and maintain the orchard, and make sure the correct species are chosen that will do well in our environment. We will also communicate with the public on the maintenance of the orchard and make sure the produce won't go to waste come harvest time.

Exactly where orchards will be sited depends on what areas can be identified that are big enough to accommodate trees without shading any homes and which neighbourhoods will welcome a food forest in their area.

Any ideas from the community are welcome, and anywhere from reserves, school and church grounds, unused sections and council land can be considered so long as there is public access. Anyone with suggestions for the location, or any keen gardeners who would like to get involved with the planting of the orchard are welcome to get in touch.

Also, as this is a community project we are keen to hear from gardeners who have seedlings or cuttings of suitable plants that they'd like to donate to this project.

This is the first of many steps in our goal of food resilience in Motueka:

  • to increase the health and wellbeing of all by encouraging a cultural shift towards buying and selling local produce
  • to support local sustainable businesses
  • to work on local growing projects and get more food grown in town
  • to reduce food wastage
  • to reduce dependence on imported food, fuels and finance
  • to help with the education of the community towards these ends.

Some of the ways we plan to achieve this include:

  • Connecting local food producers directly with consumers
  • Encouraging food producers to gear their production for local consumption
  • Promoting local distribution networks and easy trading between growers of all sizes, including home growers
  • Building relationships between existing nodes and networks, especially supermarkets, and encouraging them to buy local
  • Community orchards – growing food in town
  • Linking landless growers with land owners who have more land than they can use, or vacant land
  • Acknowledging, rewarding, and publicising ethical and responsible practices
  • Regenerating healthy soils and water supplies
  • Protecting pollinators such as bees
  • Food growing in schools, with field trips to farms, etc
  • Promoting education in sustainable food production, e.g. a primary industry college
  • Making growers aware of the gaps that we have in the supply, e.g. grains

We are fortunate to have many resources for this already, include The Food Club, Motueka Community Garden, Motueka Community Shares, a wonderfully benign climate, many local growers (large and small), roadside stalls, and a strong history of horticulture and agriculture in the district.

Activities may include a food festival, community pot luck meals, talks and workshops around food production (such as cooking, planting, pruning, fermenting, nutrition, paleo/raw/vegetarian/cultured foods, storage and preservation of harvests, permaculture, wine making), creating community food forests, food related film shows, food tours, promotion of local restaurants serving local foods, community planting days, garden mentors, and beekeeping demonstrations.

If you would like to be part of this initiative, or can contribute skills, ideas, resources, or energy to supporting Our Kai Motueka please contact us via our Facebook page.