Saturday, 27 February 2016

Pams Blog - first Riverton, then invercargil, and onto Wellington

Roberts forest garden has provided loads of ideas for the Incredible Edible heritage garden at Duke Street in Tod. It's such a pity Jon wasn't here to get even more out of the experience.
About thirty people crammed in the wonderful Environment Centre in Riverton , a bit like the Bear Coop shop Heather and I used to run in Tod thirty years ago, with organic produce, whole meal flour, nuts and seeds spilling out in wonderful displays.
They came to hear and share ideas. Toddlers and grandmas with a passion for their environment shared their stories of life in Southlands and its potential to demonstrate a healthier more local food supply system. It's a landscape of pastures and streams,  but in recent years has gone more intensive on the dairy front, which in many ways runs counter to what so many people associate with the New Zealand brand. But I'm a visitor so I can only describe what I see. Still trying to understand.
Then after a snugly night in the home of Denis and ?, Denis was born in Rochdale would you believe, it was off to Invercargill, to meet the force of nature that is Jenny... and the team she works with at the Environment Project in the Glengarry district of the town  one of its poorer areas.
I went to a community garden there where it's food for free, and help yourself to what you need including garden tools. Her philosophy is trust people, you don't have to lock things up, and if seeing is believing as with everything we do, she is spot on. People are fantastic given half a chance.
Interview with local paper followed by trip to fabulous formal park for a photo to go with the story. My line is, ' this is the perfect place to act as an edible show garden for the towns inhabitants'. Hope the local authority agrees.
Did a half hour radio show telling our story then off to the museum for some down time and the chance to see a wonderful native creature called .... The experts at the museum have worked to bring it back from extinction and reintroduce some of them to the islands around the coast.
Supper with locals and me banging on again at the Working Mans club, then sleep, and off to Wellington in the morning.
Robert and Robyn Guyton's Forest Garden - Riverton NZ

Friday, perfect flight to Wellington over the Southern Alps, or it could be Central Alps, anyway, rocky bits.
Love Wellington. You land as if you're about to ride on water, then lo and behold, there's land.
Beautiful city by the sea. 
Went straight into a briefing with council staff. Couldn't show pictures so had to paint the picture without them. I really enjoyed it as it's clear some like what they hear.
Then over to coffee shop with Sarah to meet her great boss and do the Incredible elevator pitch. Talked about stuff Rockerfeller foundation supporting in cities across the globe and about where in the city they could plant edibles. Fantastic.
Then over to offices to do some more work and off for the evening to a Common Unity fundraiser to meet the wonderful Julia who is the driving force behind it and my host for stay here.
I will learn more tomorrow but it's community growing with a school to feed kids who can really benefit from growing and eating great food.
Shaun , a brill musician had written a song about Incredibles and sang it to the crowd, we heard from a really talented bunch of young people playing amongst things a snippet from Vivaldi . (They are part of an international movement to teach kids who wouldn't otherwise learn to play and just hearing them was a privilege.), then Julia spoke of Common Unity, and I told our story. Everyone was very kind.
Then a beautiful meal prepared by the volunteers from the project with food they had grown.
Slight hitch as the lady who brought me to the event went home with my suitcase, but she was kind enough to come all the way back with it so all was well.
Then to bed in Julia's lovely house, one of the oldest in Wellington, and shared with her beautiful daughter Belle and two cats and a sweet dog.
More photos later.

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