Loyal care­tak­ers help gar­den grow

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Kel­marna Gar­den is en­cour­ag­ing new vol­un­teers to lend a hand to en­sure the cityfringe idyll is sus­tained for years to come.

The or­ganic gar­den has lain tucked away in Herne Bay in Auck­land for more than three decades grow­ing veg­eta­bles, rais­ing chick­ens and graz­ing cows.

It is still in search of non-prof­its and com­mu­nity groups to help share the load, af­ter men­tal health provider Frame­work Ser­vices de­cided to with­draw as the gar­den’s op­er­a­tional part­ner in Fe­bru­ary.

Gar­den manager Adrian Roche says los­ing Frame­work has been tough.

But its loyal care­tak­ers see it as a golden op­por­tu­nity to bring some new faces – and more im­por­tantly green­fin­gers – to the gar­den, he says. ‘‘It’s a good thing. ‘‘We’ve al­ways been very wel­com­ing to peo­ple be­cause we didn’t want to be an iso­lated men­tal health pro­gramme, we wanted to be part of the com­mu­nity, but we didn’t ac­tively go out and seek peo­ple and now we are.

‘‘We have to jus­tify why we’re here be­cause this is a com­mu­nity as­set and like any as­set the com­mu­nity has to use it.’’

The Kel­marna Com­mu­nity Gar­den Trust leases the land from Auck­land Coun­cil and Frame­work had used the gar­dens as a ther­a­peu­tic cen­tre since 1992.

The 0.4-hectare or­ganic gar­den is sur­rounded by pad­docks stocked by Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School’s farm depart­ment.

The trust has been awarded a $6000 grant from the Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board to help fund four new projects, in­clud­ing the cre­ation of a neigh­bour­hood out­reach pro­gramme and an events cal­en­dar.

‘‘It’s re­as­sur­ing and gives us time to get more fund­ing,’’ Roche says.

‘‘The long-term vi­sion is that the com­mu­nity will sup­port it but there’s still a lot of un­cer­tainty.’’

Trust chair­woman Mary Paul says the gar­den is in need of more sub­stan­tial, long-term fund­ing to sur­vive.

‘‘Peo­ple are com­ing for­ward but we need more peo­ple.

‘‘We need peo­ple to be com­mit­ted, proac­tive and in­volved,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s not like an or­di­nary com­mu­nity gar­den – it’s more of a taonga, it’s a very spe­cial place.’’

Paul says the gar­den is in need of vol­un­teers to help with a va­ri­ety of tasks in­clud­ing paint­ing, car­pen­try, cooking and gar­den­ing.

Herne Bay res­i­dent Ella Rickit has been vol­un­teer­ing at the gar­den for the past few months.

‘‘It’s beau­ti­ful tran­quil.

‘‘I find it re­ally sat­is­fy­ing do­ing some­thing with my hands and within na­ture, be­cause my whole life is just de­vices and screens, so it’s just re­ally nice to to­tally get away from tech­nol­ogy,’’ she says.

‘‘My fam­ily rents and you never know how long you’re go­ing to get to stay at a rental so hav­ing a plot to learn gar­den­ing and grow veg­eta­bles sounded re­ally cool – it’s per­fect for us.’’

and

Photo: JESS LEE

Kel­marna Gar­dens manager Adrian Roche.

Go to cen­tral­leader. co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of the gar­den.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.