Garden a growing concern
Porirua film- maker Wiremu Grace has thrown has backing behind Te Rito Gardens, which will now have a stall at the Saturday market in the city’s CBD.
The organic vegetable-growing organisation, which is both a learning environment for horticulture students and a business, has been operating in the old Porirua Hospital grounds since 2010. Its flourishing gardens are complemented by seed banks, composting, worm farms and mulch.
As they continue to expand, they want the community to be more aware of what they do, Te Rito co-ordinator Steve Wilson says. They have 25 volunteers helping them out, but could always use more.
Getting Mr Grace, who has shown at the Berlin Film Festival and directed docu-drama Ka Mate last year, on board has been a real coup for them, he says.
‘‘Wiremu has a strong personal philosophy around organic food and we see him as leader here, it’s great to have him involved with what we’re trying to do.’’
Mr Grace says he popped into the gardens one day recently and could tell he was somewhere that fit with his own ideals.
‘‘ Something like Te Rito is good for this community, there is nothing like this from Paraparaumu to Wellington. I think it will make the marketplace [in the CBD] more vibrant and it gives people choice. We don’t want to be aligned with any political or social groups, just educate the public about the benefits of organic food.’’
Mr Grace plans to make a documentary about food – and possibly about Te Rito itself – and the healthier alternatives available, with the hope it will encourage families to plant vegetables at home, especially with young children who are becoming ‘‘ disconnected from their environment’’.
While Mr Wilson admits organic food might be pricier than normally-grown fruit and vegetables, it is naturally-grown, with no stimulants or pesticides, making it more attractive to consumers.
Te Rito will be running composting and worm-farming workshops with Wesley Community Action in Cannons Creek soon, while Mr Grace will host a hangi and film evening at Te Rito on December 7 from 6.30pm. The ‘‘movie and smoothies’’ evening could become a monthly event.
Organic grace: Local film-maker Wiremu Grace says ‘it made sense for me to be involved’ with Te Rito Organics, whose ideology is close to his own.