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Community gardens allotments nearly all taken

July 6th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

The space provided by the Motueka Community Gardens for private allotments has mostly been allocated, as the Gardens Trust approach the end of their second year of operation.

The Community Gardens, in Old Wharf Road opposite the Recreation Centre, started out with five communal garden plots, built and tended by volunteers, but last October extended its space to allow for a dozen or more allotments of varying sizes.

At the time the trust was unsure if the allotments would be taken up by Motueka people, but such has been the enthusiasm for the concept that there are now 15 people renting plots at peppercorn rates for a year at a time, and only a small amount of space available for a few more.

It is hoped that some more space behind that may become available before the end of the year.

After its initial year of renting allotments, the trust has drawn up a rental agreement which provides clear guidelines on the privileges and responsibilities of allotment holders. Those interested in renting an allotment (at $1 per square metre per year renewable) should attend a working bee on a Friday morning or Sunday afternoon and talk with a trustee.

The clear success so far of community gardens is down to the work of a dedicated group of volunteer enthusiasts, led by trustees Ellen Baldwin, Ron Sharp, Grant Douglas, Susan Walker and Kahu Geor, who not only enjoy helping to plant and tend the gardens and gradually develop infrastructure such as sheds and compost heaps, but also gain pleasure through interacting with others with a similar love of good vegetables.

Through the past year the trustees have put on several promotional events, including sunflower planting and the Harvest Festival in March, and are preparing for a busy spring with workshops for the public and building more facilities for social interaction such as tables and benches.

The trust will hold its Annual General Meeting on August 9th, at which plans for the coming year will be discussed. These include growing grapes along the fence on the eastern side of the gardens, installing a biodigester, and improving the structure of the seven communal raised beds.


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