Garden at heart of community
They are a family of volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure people get good chemical-free vegetables for a reasonable price.
The Tokoroa Community Gardens in Braeside Ave is a magical place where people can walk through the garden and pick out the vegetables they want.
The family atmosphere among the handful of volunteers is endearing, they have a passion for gardening and together have more than 200 years of gardening knowledge.
Maureen Wellman chairs the trust that runs the garden and, with garden manager Bob Pudney, they have developed the garden into what it is today.
‘‘It’s for the benefit of the community,’’ Mr Pudney said.
‘‘ We grow vegetables in a chemical-free environment that follows the organic philosophies.’’
They sell fresh vegetables to the community every weekday between 9am and noon and also have a stall at the Saturday markets.
The group also donate vegetables weekly to the Tokoroa Food Bank.
All the money they make goes towards the upkeep of the garden and the rest is donated to charity.
The group is on the lookout for more volunteers, who are given free vegetables for a days’ work.
‘‘We are always on the lookout for more volunteers, they just need to show up on a weekday between 9 and 12 and we will go from there. We have equipment they can use too.’’
The gardens grow more than 50 varieties of vegetables.
They have also been a target of thieves. Mr Pudney said a patch of potatoes they planted was uprooted.
‘‘It’s terrible, this is for our community and if they had just come in to see us, we would have given them some vegetables. The potatoes weren’t ready so it was really a waste.’’
From kale to beans, flowers to potatoes, the Tokoroa Community Garden volunteers work tirelessly because they are passionate about gardening.
The regularly give groups tours of the gardens and encourage kindergartens and schools to start gardens of their own.
‘‘Children do not realise where the food in supermarkets come from. When they see that the food they eat is grown they get excited. It’s a useful skill to have,’’ Mrs Wellman said.
KNOWLEDGE SHARED: Tokoroa Community Garden volunteer Robyn Wolfeshares gardening knowledge with the younger generation.