January 28, 2021

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Home Improvement

Friendships flourish along with vegetables in new community garden

Maggie Grant, 3, gets her gardening gloves ready to help during a working bee at the new Marfell Community Garden.

GLENN JEFFREY/Stuff

Maggie Grant, 3, gets her gardening gloves ready to help during a working bee at the new Marfell Community Garden.

New Plymouth’s newest community garden is growing friendships as well as food.

About 20 to 30 people of all ages turned out for two working bees at Marfell in New Plymouth to prepare the soil and plant seedlings and seeds in the suburb’s new food garden, resident Ben Hunter said.

A working bee at the new community garden was well attended by residents from Marfell.

GLENN JEFFREY/Stuff

A working bee at the new community garden was well attended by residents from Marfell.

“I’ve met people from a couple of houses down and across the road I’d never known, although I have been living here four years and never met them,” he said.

“All ages and all cultures are coming together to make this work, it’s really cool.”

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The garden has been established beside the Mangaotuku Walkway on 400m3 of New Plymouth District Council reserve land, and with the help of local businesses, who have donated seeds, compost and even machinery and tools.

“It’s nice to see community things happening,” Hunter, who has always had his own garden, said.

“Not everyone has the room or the knowledge to grow food at home.”

Ben Hunter mans the rotary hoe during an open day at the new Marfell Community Gardens.

GLENN JEFFREY/Stuff

Ben Hunter mans the rotary hoe during an open day at the new Marfell Community Gardens.

He hoped more people would want to get involved.

“As it grows, people are driving past saying ‘what’s that?’ We are getting a sign made up, but at the moment it’s just rows of vegetables growing.”

Once harvesting began, the produce would be shared by the families involved and people in need in the community.

Other ideas that had been talked about included building a sandpit for the children and a barbeque area.

“So as well as being a community garden, it will be a place we can hold events.”

Ross Payne and his daughter Brianna, 8, planting seedlings during the second working bee at the new Marfell Community Garden.

GLENN JEFFREY/Stuff

Ross Payne and his daughter Brianna, 8, planting seedlings during the second working bee at the new Marfell Community Garden.

Urs Signer, Sustainable Taranaki’s community gardens coordinator, is helping to establish the new garden as part of his role to support various community gardens around Taranaki.

“Many of the people involved have never done any gardening, it’s very cool learning and working together, celebrating Marfell community spirit,” he said.

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