Community garden celebrated at NorthTec

2 November 2016

Community garden celebrated at NorthTec

A community garden created by students for students was celebrated with an open day at NorthTec’s Raumanga campus yesterday.

Around 200 students and staff turned out for the event, where more than 220 seedlings were given out to be taken home and planted.

NorthTec Kaumātua, Hohepa Rudolph, blessed the garden, which consists of raised beds overflowing with vegetables, an orchard, a poly house and a shade house.

Foundation tutor, Clinton Ashill, thanked the NorthTec staff who had helped make the garden a reality, and awarded prizes to students who had worked especially hard in developing it.

Students Shannon Glassie and Martika Stoneham were recognised for their efforts, while Marquies Nua received an Outstanding Achievement award.

The NorthTec community garden was established in 2015 by learners on the Vocational Studies programme. The aim was to develop horticultural and project management skills, as well as promoting healthy eating by making fresh vegetables available to all.

This year, a new group of students have doubled the size of the garden, rebuilt an old poly house and refurbished the shade house, installing irrigation systems in both. Their work has enabled plants to be grown from seed in a sheltered warm environment, creating a structured planting methodology and ensuring there are plants available almost all year round, as well as new plants growing to replace them.

With the garden produce available for all NorthTec students and staff to pick for their own use, the students have also created a sign advising which plants are ready for harvesting.

Clinton Ashill said: “Overall, the students have done much more than just the horticultural aspect of the programme, having the opportunity to also gain chainsaw safety certificates, carpentry skills building the raised beds and tables for the poly house, and also welding skills for the community garden sign.

“Our aim was to raise awareness of the community garden as a resource for students, staff and the wider community to access healthy eating options.”

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