The One Love Gardens initiative saw the installation of 50 garden boxes across four streets in Mangere in November.
The initiative is a partnership between One Love, Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura and Alliance Community Initiatives Trust. It tests what a sustainable food system could look like in South Auckland and the installation of the gardens are part of the first phase.
The One Love team worked with families living on Deborah Place, Tranent Street, Imrie Ave and Friesian Drive to encourage them to have gardens and grow their own foods.
Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura Kaiārahi Māori, Mason Ngawhika says the first step was to disassemble over 100 pallets to transform them into raised garden beds.
“We also converted a number of plastic wheelie bins into compost bins which would not only allow families to reduce their household waste but also provided fertilizer for their gardens.”
He says they began installing the gardens on the second day with the massive task of shifting several tonnes of rich fertile topsoil to 50 households.
“While this was all going on a workshop was held to educate families about gardening and how to do a Lasagna styled compost with the pre-loved wheelie bins, so we could help create a sustainable food system within the One Love neighbourhood.”
Mason Ngawhika says the team is now working to help another 50 families in Mangere start their own gardens.
“We want to take this learning experience and help other families living in South Auckland to do the same.”
Over the two days many volunteers offered to help the One Love team including Imrie Ave resident, Leon.
Leon was driving past the park on the Friday morning when he noticed people setting up a construction site for building garden frames and couldn’t resist finding out more.
“I stopped to ask what was going on and because I am a builder by trade, I thought I would see if they needed any volunteers. When the answer was yes, I decided to take the day off but, I ended up helping the guys for both days.”
The builder had seen the work the One Love team did around Neighbours Day earlier in the year but wasn’t able to help at the time.
“I said to myself if they do something else, I want to get behind it, so, I did and loved it. I loved being able to help families in our area.”
Other groups that helped to make the event possible were My Backyard Garden, Whenua Warrior, Briscoes, The Warehouse and Rinnai.