Garden a grow­ing con­cern

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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