The Cedar Centre Community Garden has been a part of Beach Haven community life for several years. The garden brings residents of the area together in simple but significant ways. Seasonal working bees bring neighbours and families together to weed and prepare the soil. Families and individuals who wish to learn about growing their own food are encouraged to learn about gardening as a way of becoming more self-sustaining. On one particular working bee, children of parents who came to work created a life size scarecrow and learned about how to care for soil so that crops grow.
Recently vegetables and herbs from the garden were made available for sale by donation to the Cedar Centre congregation. Many of those who attended the church on the day of the sale were pleasantly surprised to find that the garden was growing such a large surplus of beautiful organic vegetables and herbs.
We are keen to see more community members contribute their skills and enthusiasm. We hope to offer workshops which will educate and inspire others to grow their own food. Too many low income families believe that healthy food is too expensive, and so opt for cheaply made processed foods. Our community garden is also in liaison with our local primary school Beach Haven. The projects goal is the training of life skills for the primary school children using products produced in the Cedar Centre Community garden. Through this they will learn to create a garden bed, plant vegetables and to take care of them, right through to learning different cultural cooking methods, selling the vegetables, learning sales, marketing, banking and savings methods.
While we presently grow a variety of seasonal vegetables and herbs, we would like to increase our capacity to feed more local families in need, and most importantly to educate others as to how they can do the same. We currently have 5 young fruit trees which we hope will become the start of an orchard.
From an environmental standpoint, we also believe that home and community gardens hold the answer to reducing the carbon foot print from New Zealand's dependence on imported food commodities.