A Cromwell woman says concern about child poverty, coupled with a desire to teach people how to grow their own food, provided the spark to start a community garden in the Central Otago town.
Joy McDonald and her husband, John, are the driving force behind the garden, which is being established behind the Cromwell Presbyterian Church in Elspeth St.
Along with other members of their parish, the couple have been working hard over the past few weeks cultivating plots, collecting horse manure and garnering support from other sectors of the community.
“I was struck by figures in the ‘Justice and Action’ booklet produced jointly by Presbyterian Support and the Presbyterian Church that showed how people on low incomes are struggling to make ends meet,” Mrs McDonald said.
“Cromwell is no different, especially with the high rents now being charged in the area.
“I worry about children not getting the right food,” she said.
Mr McDonald said people involved with the new garden wanted to teach people how to grow food, not just give it away.
“That way they become empowered to do it for themselves.”
Mrs McDonald said there had been a lot of support from the community.
Jo Wakelin, of the Otago Polytechnic, and Cromwell worm farmer Robbie Dick were among people who had helped support the venture, along with some local businesses.
About 10 people attended the first planting day on Saturday, when potatoes, carrots and parsnips were some of the first seeds to go into the ground.
Cromwell mother of two young children Emma Urquhart attended the morning.
“My mother was always a keen gardener and now it’s time for me to learn so I can help feed our kids,” Ms Urquhart said.
The next planting day will be held on October 29.