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Garden gifted to the Taradale community by high school students

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When Taradale High School got the green light to return after the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, a group of like-minded students were inspired to give back to their local community in the hope of lifting peoples’ spirits.

The group, aged between 15 and 17 years, decided to establish community gardens adjacent to the Taradale Library, in White Street, to give people the opportunity to benefit from fresh vegetables and herbs all-year-round.

A grant of $4670 from Napier City Council’s Te Puawaitanga – Green Communities Together Fund, which supports fresh, simple ideas that help Napier environments flourish helped the students’ idea come to fruition.

After six months of research and planning, the gardens, which consist of four raised vegetable beds, were opened on 22 November to the delight of a grateful Taradale community. The three fundamental elements of the garden are kai, ako and hapori – meaning food, learning and community.

Taradale High School Year 12 student and one of the founding members of the group, Jack Evans, says planting the various herbs and vegetables proved to be a highlight of the opening.

“Children and adults alike were eager to put some mahi into the garden,” Jack says.

“Lettuces, chillies, capsicums, cucumbers, tomatoes along with a number of herbs, such as oregano, mint and rosemary were planted in the four plots.

“The gardens are cultivated by the community to feed the community. They rely on community input to succeed – not only to help water and care for it but to also pick the vegetables and herbs to help them grow. People are welcome to help themselves!”

Taradale High School Principal, David Oliver, believes the garden provides a good resource for learning, for children across a range of school levels.

“[The garden] has provided an authentic context for learning with the opportunity for our students to be creative, work together, solve a range of problems and engage with multiple community agencies. To me, it is a great example of what future focused learning and education is all about.”

Moving forward, the group’s goals include expanding the garden by adding fruit trees and increasing community involvement. Jack says the group will work hard to maintain and improve the gardens, so it is an asset for Taradale for years to come.

The students spearheading the project include Matt Adams, Natasha Keen, Jade Coleman, Jasmine Savage, Janička Tei, Alex Nisbit, Charlie Mudgway and Jack Evans. Hetley Dean and Social Studies teacher, Robyn O’Hagan, will ensure the project will last beyond the students’ time at Taradale High School.

To follow the latest news of the garden’s developments, or to volunteer to look after the gardens, see the Taradale Community Garden Facebook page.

12 January 2021

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