Leaving a legacy
From community gardens, compost bins, worm farms and hydroponics, it’s not surprising Waitakere Gardens has won numerous awards for its resident-led sustainability efforts.
A resident builder drew up the plans, presented them and sourced the materials. Using half a dozen residents’ knowledge and time, the village now has compost bins costing $1,000 – not $10,000.
This work coincided with an Auckland Council Competition on Environmental Competence, and out of ten entries, Waitakere Gardens came home with the top prize.
“We’ve always been very conscious here, it helps that I’ve got a thing about waste,” says Evelyn.
Evelyn set up bins for residents to dump different types of waste, including cardboard, recycle, general rubbish.
The hydroponics were brought to the village by an early resident with a horticultural business. Alongside John and the group, the vegetable garden plots were carefully designed on a slope, so residents can garden without reaching down or ending their knees. John is heavily involved in the well-established community gardens, where crops are harvested three times a week and sold in the village atrium for a gold coin donation. The money is used to fund more plants and fertilisers.
A group of weekly resident helpers collect organic waste from certain apartments and take it to the gardens to be processed. “Some are in their 90s now and love their little job,” says Margaret.
The thought and care taken into sustainability decision making is clear; from water tanks being installed to reuse rainwater landing on the village’s roofs, to providing one-litre bottles of worm tea to residents for free.
Outside groups like Selwyn College have visited Waitakere Gardens to view the initiatives and see if they can set up something similar themselves.