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Destination debated for bumper Community Garden crop

January 14th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

The Community Garden has reached its next milestone - the harvesting of its first crops - leaving the trustees to decide how best to distribute the bumper surplus of produce.

The garden, located in Old Wharf Road opposite the Recreation Centre, was created in early spring and the first plantings were made in November. With twice-weekly working bees by 5 to 10 helpers, it has become very productive and has aroused considerable interest among passers by walking the Inlet Walkway.

Such has been the heavy growth that several crops, such as radishes, are now reaching the point where they will soon need to be dug out and replaced, while others like the zucchinis are growing faster than they can be harvested by the regular workers themselves.

The Motueka Community Garden trustees met yesterday to discuss, among other things, policies for distribution of surplus. Already several interested people walking by have been given vegetables and some of them have made small donations in return, which are being used to fund the seed potatoes that have just been planted.

After the people working on the projects have picked their share of the results, some possible recipients of surplus produce include:

  • Seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands,
  • The Red Cross shop (or similar organisations such as churches), who could freely pass them on to elderly people or people known to be in need of financial help,
  • People who would consider helping out with the garden's maintenance and expansion,
  • Anyone who would take produce in exchange for small donations to the Trust.

(If any readers have any other ideas about how the surplus food could be used to benefit the wider community, the trustees would very much like to hear from you. Please use the link at the end of this article to email your suggestions.)

Many people passing by the gardens have wondered what the area was being used for and whether or not it was a trial Council plot or similar. The Community Garden Trust will shortly be using some of its start-up funds to build and install a sign to identify the project, and over time this will set out the goals and plans for the area. Money has also been spent recently designing and installing a watering system using water kindly donated by the neighbouring Cool Store.

The Trustees aim to develop the gardens into a place for individuals and groups to grow vegetables in sustainable and organic ways, to encourage the idea of self-sufficiency in food for Motuekans, and to teach particularly younger generations but also adults how to garden to create self-grown nutritious food. To this end, local gardening guru and teacher Grant Douglas will later this year run courses and workshops based at the garden plots.

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