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Community gardens available for private vege allotments

September 29th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka Community Gardens Trust is offering a large part of their land in Old Wharf Road to individuals and groups who want to manage their own vegetable gardening plots for a nominal rental fee.

The community gardens have been operating for a year now in a council-owned section opposite the Recreation Centre. Volunteers, both regular and occasional, have built seven raised beds for communal garden plots, an irrigation system, two sheds and compost bins.

At its Annual General Meeting, to be held next Monday, October 3rd at 7pm at Community House, plans and guidelines for individual allotment rentals will be announced.

Such allotments will be ideal for people who are either renting and cannot have their own vege garden, or live on sections that have insufficient room for a larger vegetable patch. They will also be able to learn new techniques by working with or near other gardeners.

Rights to rent will be held for a minimum of a year and will cost $2 per square metre for the year. Therefore a moderate-sized family plot of say 5m x 4m will cost only $40 per year. The trustees say prices can be discussed with people in real hardship.

The rentals are not for profit, but money raised will go into improving the gardens and purchasing seeds and plants. Allotment renters will be required to keep their plots in good order and fit in with the overall philosophy of ecological communal gardening.

The gardens trust is also hoping to attract some people keen on the idea of community gardens to offer assistance by joining the committee and/or becoming a trustee. A year ago, when the idea of the gardens was mooted and funding made available, upward of 15 people with environmental concerns expressed enthusiastic interest in helping out, but after the first few meetings this has reduced to a core of about 10 helpers at most.

The current trustees, led by chairperson Tara Forde, are looking at ways of encouraging wider involvement by people in the Motueka community, and the allotment scheme should go part-way to achieving this. The current raised communal beds will continue to be used by people not wanting their own allotments, who are then entitled to reap some of the harvest.

So far three people are known to be ready to rent allotments, with several others having expressed interest. Others interested in the development should attend the AGM on Monday to hear the detailed plan.


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