Community gardens grow in popularity
Apartment living in bigger cities is on the increase and first home buyers are choosing convenience and price over wide open spaces as room runs out.
Elsewhere busy lifestyles, work demands and family commitments mean many of us have less time to spend at home doing what our forebears possibly did before us.
The humble vege garden out the back is becoming less of a reality as a result, prompting people to explore another option.
Community gardens are cropping up all over the country – giving people who don’t have the space or knowhow a chance to grow produce in communal or allotted public planting spots.
And it’s not just about saving space.
Organisers and experienced gardeners also teach amateurs the basics of planting, growing and even cooking affordable alterna- tives to veges bought where.
Setting up a community garden isn’t just a case of coming up with an idea. It needs a lot of work and community buy-in.
Budding community garden groups all over New Zealand are using social media
else- platforms like Neighbourly. co.nz to get the word out – brainstorming and seeking support from local businesses to find land and funding.
If they can do it, so can you. Here are a few things you should think about when setting up your own community garden. Location: A community garden needs to be big enough to support multiple gardeners and their produce and handy enough that people will actually use it. Maybe someone you know would be happy to lend space to the idea?
Or maybe the council has a spot it would be happy for your group to use? Funding: How are you going to fund the project? Consider approaching local businesses including plant stores who might be interested in making financial or product donations. Think about monthly or annual maintenance fees or donations for members too. Members: You’ll be surprised at how many people in your neighbourhood will be interested in joining a community garden. Advertise your garden on Neighbourly to raise awareness and gather support. Encourage other community groups like Girl Guides and or even rest homes to get involved, particularly if your garden gives a portion of its produce to charity. Rights: Part of being a member includes certain rights around the use of the community garden. Establish ground rules to avoid disagreements over who owns what and how much each member can take.
Surplus produce could be donated to charity organisations or sold at a farmers’ market to raise more money for your garden. Avoid your berms: Councils around New Zealand will have different rules about if and how you can use the berm. In Auckland, berms are managed by Auckland Transport and AT does not permit residents to plant on berms.
On rare occasions permission may be given but this requires an application to Auckland Transport for a licence.
Phone 355 3553 or see at.govt.nz for more information.
Communal gardening on a shared space makes good sense – no matter where you live.