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Community Garden idea to get an airing

July 20th

A meeting will be held next Tuesday to discuss the setting up of a Community Garden in Motueka. Community gardens are being built in many centres in New Zealand to promote local growth of food and sharing of resources and work, especially among people who cannot manage a garden in their own property.

The meeting, to be held at 7pm on Tuesday July 27th at the Motueka Community House, aims to draw together all people interested in the concept to discuss the form of such an initiative and how it could be managed. The idea is being promoted by several people, including well known local gardening exponent Grant Douglas.

Grant says the Tasman District Council has given a piece of land in Old Wharf Road near the Adopt-a-Plot area and opposite the Recreation Centre for the scheme. The Nelson District Health Board has provided some initial funding which is being managed by the TDC.

Community gardens are not the sorts of garden "allotments" common in England, which figure occasionally in Coronation Street storylines. They usually involve a collective area where those interested in taking part can plant whatever edibles they wish (normally in consultation with others) and take their share of various crops as they are harvested. An honesty system encourages people to take only as much in produce as they give in preparation and maintenance work.

Apart form social interaction and community cohesion, the benefits are many, including the availability of crops throughout the year in the quantities which suit people's needs, rather than big surpluses and gaps in individual home gardens. However, the success of community gardens depends very much on honesty, give and take, and sufficient people to ensure the work is spread and not dependent on a small number of dedicated souls.

All residents interested in community, sustainability and vegetable gardening are urged to attend next Tuesday's meeting to hear and contribute ideas. It will be facilitated by Rob Francis, TDC's Environmental Education Officer.

Update: View the following news item arising from the July 27th meeting »

Vegetable Growing course

Meanwhile, Grant Douglas is once again running a Vegetable Growing course for interested home gardeners. It consists of five free two-hour workshops (funded by the TDC) running from August 10th to 31st, and people can pick up brochures about the course content and registration forms from the Motueka Community House. These courses were run last year and were heavily over-subscribed.

You can register for just one workshop, or all five, or a selection. This year's course topics include vegetable garden site selection, plant and soil care, propagation, making compost, property design and permaculture.

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