Kaiapoi gardeners rewarded with national prize
Mon, 19 Dec 2011 6:20p.m.
By Juanita Copeland
A small team of green-fingered residents have been growing something very special in the earthquake-ravaged town of Kaiapoi.
The Kaiapoi community garden has survived quakes and snow storms and fostered a spirit of teamwork, and now the gardeners have been rewarded for their efforts.
Their work has seen the project declared the best community garden in the country.
Garden coordinator Lesley Ottey appreciates the recognition and hopes that the garden can set an example to others.
“I don't want to be thought of as just a sympathy vote, I want people to be inspired by what we've done here,” says Ms Ottey.
The garden was set up just before September’s earthquake. The February quake followed, as well as two snow storms.
While the garden stayed intact its green-fingered guardians were stretched, but garden founder Helen Roberts says they also found solace in the garden.
“Some of the people that come here have got red zoned houses and it's been really difficult, but we always have a nice cup of tea and biscuit and things so it's good,” says Ms Roberts.
About 15 volunteers spend two hours a week at the site, and those who do gardening get to take home the spoils.
They also get a chance to help rebuild their community. New Zealand Gardener magazine editor Jo McCarroll acknowledges that this contributed to the award.
“We had another community garden finalist and when I rang to say they hadn't won they said 'that's good because we really wanted Christchurch to win and as a community we'd agreed we'd give half the prize to the Kaiapoi community garden',” says Ms McCarroll.
The group now wants to grow the project. They have been offered more land to expand, and hope to attract dozens more gardeners.
The first priority however will be using the prize from the award to buy a much needed lawn mower.
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26/06/2012 8:22:57 p.m.
Paul Fisher wrote:
We live in Kaiapoi and would like to donate our vege seed collection to the gardens. How can we contact them?
20/12/2011 1:01:50 p.m.
yes Rachel, it is an inspiring accomplishment. New growth and togetherness life and community. Great.
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