Thriving garden benefits whole community
A Christchurch community garden project is flourishing. Supported by Housing New Zealand, the Riccarton West Community Garden has been embraced with great pride by the community.
The project was started in October 2013 when a group of young people from the Student Army, members of the Neighbourhood Policing team and local residents came together to prepare the Peverel Street site for planting. The land had been loaned by Housing New Zealand on a year-to-year basis.
Preserves made from garden produce were included in the ‘Welcome’ packs given by the locals to newly arriving tenants in Housing New Zealand’s
Rex Street complex, while fruit and vegetables have been delivered to dozens of households around the suburb.
An elderly Housing New Zealand tenant says he was delighted with the fresh veges he received before Christmas. “I was feeling a bit down, and this made me feel part of the community even though I’m not involved in the garden.”
Police say the garden has been a significant factor in the sharp reduction in crime, and greater community wellbeing in the area.
“With the increasing density of housing in Riccarton, the social investment return that comes from this community garden is invaluable,” Constable Brad Hagerty said.
An area has been divided into allotments for community groups and individuals. For example, Chinese, Nepalese, Korean and Indian locals have plots where they can grow vegetables familiar to them, and the ABC preschool visits their space most days in the summer – a great learning experience for the children.
With Housing New Zealand recently extending the lease, the garden will continue to grow strongly.