Village News

A sustainable, suburban oasis

16 January 2024

Arthur Berman, Margaret Bol and Jeanne Foster

The seeds have been sown at Waitākere Gardens, where a group of passionate residents are working hard to bring their sustainable dream to life.

Jeanne Foster, Margaret Bol and Arthur Berman, together with other village residents, are building on, and enhancing, the foundations of a 20-year resident-led project - to become Waitākere City's foremost 'Eco Village'.

“The vision has always been there and I’m so pleased that we have been able to breathe new life into it and watch it flourish, literally!”, says Margaret.

On a mission to create a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves and the village, the group have made significant progress in the past 12 months.

“Our aim is to have nothing go to waste. From worm farming to composting and planting our own vegetable gardens, it’s a cycle we’re keen to see continue and grow here at the village and beyond.”

Arthur, one of the worm farm experts, is passionate about the wriggly critters and the liquid gold they produce.

“Having a worm farm allows us to produce our own ‘worm tea’ – it’s an organic, nutrient rich fertiliser that helps keep our garden looking so vibrant”, says Arthur.

“And it’s great to have so many residents from across the village contributing their food scraps to our worm farm. It helps reduce waste and keeps the worms happy!”

The transformation of a multi-layered community garden that’s now bursting with fresh, organic produce provides everything from delicious cabbage and broccoli to feijoas and hopefully, strawberries come summertime.

But what’s the best part about the community garden? “Being able to share it with the rest of the village”, the group said.

Every week they procure produce and seedlings from the garden and make it available to all residents for a gold coin donation in the village atrium. Plus, it’s not only the residents who get to reap the rewards, twice a year they also host a large market day for the wider community.

Jeanne, who has been practicing sustainability all her life is proud to continue contributing into her retirement.

“I never thought I'd get such enjoyment out of life after retirement. I have gardened all my life, but it was mostly a hobby”, says Jeanne.

“I've learned that in sharing and collaborating with other gardeners, there is a new sense of satisfaction to be had, new friendships and new goals.

“Exercise, fresh air and sunshine, friendships and learning new gardening skills, what could be better?”

It’s a garden that not only nourishes the village but fosters meaningful connections too and for Margaret, it’s just the beginning.

“There’s still plenty more we want to do, but for now, we’re all very happy watching what we’ve created just thrive.”

Waitākere Gardens sustainability group at work

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