Community Gardens For Building Stronger Communities and Food Security

Community Gardens For Building Stronger Communities and Food Security

In an era where digital connections often overshadow face-to-face interactions, community gardens stand as vibrant and transformative spaces.

These oases of greenery not only offer an opportunity to grow fresh produce but also foster a sense of belonging, promote sustainability, and empower communities. In this article, we will explore the beauty and benefits of community gardens, highlighting their positive impact on individuals and neighborhoods.

  1. Nurturing Relationships:

Community gardens serve as meeting grounds for like-minded individuals, fostering connections among people from diverse backgrounds. The act of gardening together creates opportunities for meaningful conversations, shared experiences, and a sense of belonging. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a novice with a curious spirit, community gardens provide a supportive environment where knowledge and skills can be exchanged, deepening community ties.

  1. Growing Food, Growing Resilience:

One of the fundamental aspects of community gardens is their ability to enhance food security and resilience. By growing their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, community gardeners become more self-reliant and gain control over their food supply. This is particularly valuable for individuals and families facing financial constraints or lacking access to fresh, healthy produce. Moreover, in times of crisis or disruptions in the food system, community gardens can serve as local sources of sustenance and nourishment.

  1. Sustainability in Action:

Community gardens embody sustainability at its core. These green spaces encourage organic gardening practices, composting, and water conservation techniques, reducing reliance on chemical inputs and minimizing environmental impact. By cultivating an appreciation for the natural world and practicing sustainable gardening methods, community gardeners contribute to the preservation of local ecosystems and the overall health of the planet.

  1. Spaces for Learning and Empowerment:

Community gardens are not limited to the act of growing plants; they also serve as educational platforms and empowerment hubs. Many community gardens offer workshops, classes, and demonstrations on topics such as permaculture, composting, and urban farming. These initiatives equip individuals with practical skills and knowledge, empowering them to become stewards of the environment and advocates for sustainable living. Additionally, community gardens often collaborate with local schools, providing students with hands-on learning experiences and fostering a sense of responsibility towards nature.

  1. Building Stronger Communities:

Community gardens act as catalysts for positive social change. They create spaces where neighbors can come together, fostering a sense of community pride, ownership, and cooperation. These gardens often host events, celebrations, and festivals, further strengthening community bonds. By nurturing a shared sense of purpose and fostering a spirit of collaboration, community gardens contribute to safer, healthier, and more vibrant neighborhoods.

Kaiapoi Community Garden
Hope Community Garden
Community gardens represent more than just plots of land filled with plants. They are dynamic and transformative spaces that cultivate connections, resilience, and sustainable practices. Through fostering relationships, promoting food security, embracing sustainability, and empowering individuals, community gardens bring positive change to both individuals and the communities they serve. So, let’s embrace the magic of community gardens, sow the seeds of togetherness, and watch as these green spaces bloom into flourishing centers of empowerment and nourishment for all.
One of North Canterbury’s newest community gardens is in Woodend. Run by Andy Childs, who has extensive gardening experience and is the vice president of the Woodend Community Association.
Produce from the Woodend Community Garden is shared between volunteers, families in need at Woodend School, and the Woodend Community Pantry (situated in the WASP carpark).
We would love to see Andy and his team at the Woodend Community Garden continue to grow and thrive – if you would like to learn more about the garden you can contact Andy on 027 512 2681, or visit The Community of Woodend page on Facebook.
Andy Childs at Woodend Community Garden

Other great community gardens you can get involved with in North Canterbury include Kaiapoi Community Garden and Hope Community Garden – Rangiora. Both of which run valuable workshops throughout the year too!

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Te Wiki o te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2023

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2023

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2023

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Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) is held every September in honour of the presentation of the Māori Language Petition to parliament in 1972. Now in 2023, 51 years later, despite there being some negativity there is a growing trend to celebrate te reo Māori.

There are many ways we can celebrate te reo Māori, like using kupu (words) in every day conversation, and learning and practicing the correct pronunciation of Māori place names. For inspiration we have compiled some mahi māra (gardening) and kai (food) words and phrases in te reo Māori,  and shared some useful links and learning resources.

Learning another language (or any new skill) can be very challenging but is hugely rewarding! Be kind to yourself, go at your own pace – everyone has to start somewhere.

Kia Kaha te Reo Māori! Let’s make the Māori language strong!

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Hana Te Hemara (1940 – 1999) was a prominent Māori leader and a founding member of Māori activist group Ngā Tamatoa. The website shares a wealth of knowledge about Hana Te Hemara’s life, the work of Ngā Tamatoa, and the 50th anniversary of their petition to parliament.


Mahi Māra (Gardening) and kai (food) words and phrases in Te Reo Māori

Mahi māra – Gardening

He rawe te mahi māra – Gardening is fun

Kamupūtu – Gumboots

Kei hea ō kamupūtu? – Where are your gumboots

Me whakatō ngā kākano ināianei – Plant the seeds now

Kua kohi au i ngā parahanga hei wairākau – I have collected all the waste to make compost

Kua makuru te kai, nā te angitu o te māra – We have an abundance of food because our garden was a success

Noke / Ngā noke – Worm / Worms

Mā ngā noke e pai ake ai te āhua o te oneone – Worms improve the condition of the soil

Ringaringa – Hands

He kai kei aku ringaringa – I can produce my food with my own hands

Kai – Food

He tino reka ngā kai – This food is delicious!

Hua whenua – Vegetables

He aha te kai o te pō – What’s for dinner?

Parakuihi – Breakfast

He aha te kai mō te parakuihi? – What’s for breakfast?

Parāoa – Bread

Pata – Butter

Homai te parāoa me te pata– Pass the bread and butter

Tiakina ngā toenga – Save the leftovers

Mīti – Meat

Kei te kī te mīti i te pūmua kia pakari ai ō uaua – Meat is full of protein to build your muscles

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi– With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive


Phrases taken from the book Māori at Home: An everyday guide to learning the Māori langauge

Pūrārangi Māori (The Māori Alphabet)

Pūrārangi Māori / The Māori Alphabet

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa have this super handy tool for learning how to pronounce pūrārangi Māori (the Māori alphabet).

Simply click on any button to hear how it is pronounced.

For example; to learn how to pronounce pūrārangi, listen to pū – rā – ra – ngi (make sure to pay attention to the macrons e.g. , pū / pu). Check it out here.




Huatau (Ideas) and Rauemi (Resources) for Further Learning have prepared some huatau (ideas) you can do to use and speak more te reo Māori.

“It could be as easy as greeting everyone you see with ‘kia ora’, starting your Zoom call with “mōrena”, or playing te reo Māori songs in your workplace all day.”

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