Sowing the seeds for the future
Waihi Beach Community garden will grow into a permaculture site in the future.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council has renewed the lease to help the garden working group embark on a three-year development plan.
The Council has agreed to a five-year lease renewal so that the garden can continue its volunteer educational programme and running workshops on gardening, waste minimisation, organics and nutrition.
The Waihi Beach Community Board supports the community garden continuing to operate in its present location on Wilson Park.
Mayor Garry Webber said the community garden is a voluntary project and that Council facilitates voluntary groups wherever it can.
However he said it was important that the garden was used appropriately and maintained well.
Community Garden Chairwoman Jane Broughton attended Council’s Operations and Monitoring Committee to present a plan for the garden that includes encouraging community-wide participation in sustainable gardening and providing fruit and vegetables to the community.
“If they need a lemon, they can come to the garden and grab one and just donate time in exchange.
“We also giveaway our excess produce back to the community,” Jane says.
The garden was established about four or five years ago to get the community involved into gardening and learning from each other.
“We do a lot of courses here on beekeeping with [Waihi Beach arborist] Brett Soutar, planting, pruning, propagating, worm farming,” she says.
The garden’s committee has designed the future of the garden, turning it into a permaculture and self-sufficient site.
Concept plans show fruit trees surrounding the vegetable beds, a mulch area, a worm farm and more.
Permaculture is more than organic gardening — it is the creative process of developing a garden as an ecosystem, including the effect of human impact on their environment.
This type of design mimics nature’s relationships, it is energy-wise and collaborative to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment.
Part of the collaborative approach is also making the garden a place for the community to gather, share skills and just to enjoy, Jan says.
There are two picnic tables and more structures, such as a pizza oven, are planned for the future.
“And it will evolve as we go,” Jan says.
The group is working with Council staff on improved maintenance and redevelopment of the garden beds.
Waihi Beach Community Garden coordinator, Jane Broughton.
Beehives are installed in the garden.