Our community gardeners

The Resnick brothers - Alex, Nick and Jake - with their garden box and Wānaka Library representation Eve Marshall-Lea.

The community gardens at the Wānaka Community Hub are bursting at the seams after the rain and sunshine January has brought so far. 

This LINK Upper Clutha initiative, which began when the Wānaka Community Hub donated land and six unused planter boxes last spring, aims to bring together residents interested in growing vegetables who may not have the space, resources, or knowledge to do so at home with tools, expertise and community support. 

Mint, lettuce, radishes and the first of the tomatoes are just a few of the goodies now ready to enjoy from the gardens, each the responsibility of a local organisation or family, who also take shifts to water the boxes throughout the week.

Wednesday is watering day for the Resnick brothers - Alex, Nick and Jake - who came to Wānaka as part of a one-year trip around the world with their parents. They were supposed to be learning martial arts in the mountains in China when Covid-19 hit, so decided to wait out the storm here in Wānaka. The gardens were a great opportunity for them and their mum to learn how to grow fruit and vegetables - beyond the lemon trees in their LA garden back home. 

The box nextdoor-but-one is managed by Eve Marshall-Lea on behalf of the Wānaka Library, who became involved with the project to increase the library’s participation in the community and develop its seedbank - a new initiative set up last year, which contributed to their collection of fruit and veges growing in their box and will be topped up with new seeds at the end of the season.

“It’s a nice way for us to share, and we’re really happy that any of the fresh produce that isn’t used goes to the Wānaka Foodbank,” said Marshall-Lea - adding that the foodbank was always in great need of fresh produce, a “key component” in a good diet.

Vicki Wise, who was maintaining the Wānaka Mental Health Peer Support Group’s garden box - whilst relearning parts of her Biology degree - said that it was “so nice to have a space to grow fruits and vegetables,” which could have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing by encouraging gardeners to be outside and take care of other living things. 

Read edition 1010 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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