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Grow Wānaka is working hard to provide holistic solutions to significant challenges facing our community.
 

Our project goals include: 

  • Enhancing Community Resilience & Connection

  • Improving Food Security 

  • Minimising Waste through Organics Recycling 

  • Providing Education to Expand Knowledge and Skills 

  • Regenerating Degraded Land back to Biodiverse and Productive Landscapes

We are a community garden project making an impact in our community. Here are some stats to back up the success of our project.   

Waste Minimisation 

From August 2022 to September 2023 we diverted 1000 Litres of food waste from landfill. 

Over the past year we have put significant effort into enhancing our garden food waste drop off station. We are currently calculating our 2023 to 2024 stats and will post these soon. 

As a general estimate we are currently diverting 150 Litres of food waste from landfill each week. 

The high quality end product of our vermicomposting operations, along with the creation of a few hot compost piles, are now supplying the garden with 90% of our seed raising mix, potting mix and compost needs for the season.

 

In November of 2023 we had our vermicast (worm farm compost) tested and the results showed good bacteria and fungal activity and biomass. A successful outcome for turning a waste stream into a valued added end product perfect for our garden production.

Food Security

2022 We delivered 33 boxes of organic produce plus 37 pumpkins to the Wānaka Food Bank.

2023 We delivered 38 parcels of organic produce and 80 pumpkins to the Wānaka Food Bank and Upper Clutha produce pantries. 
2024 To mid-May we have delivered 28 parcels of organic produce and 56 pumpkins with ongoing weekly pumpkin deliveries to the Wānaka Food Bank and Upper Clutha produce pantries. We expect that we will exceed last years stats by the end of this season. An update to come. 

In addition to our food bank and produce pantry donations, we’re providing organic produce consistently to 15 to 30 weekly volunteers over the growing season from November to July. Our garden team consists of visitors, seasonal employees, individuals and families new to the area, and long time locals. 

Community Resilience and Connection

To date we have collaborated with over 73 different individuals, clubs, organisations and businesses, with 1445 community members visiting the garden for working bees, workshops, and events.
 

2021-2022 we had nearly 2000 volunteer hours. For the 2022-2023 season our volunteer hours doubled to 4200 hours, which stayed consistent for the 2023-2024 season. Although we try hard to capture the majority of our volunteer hours we know there were many more that went unnoticed. 

Our Saturday Morning Bee & Tea sessions bring together 15 to 30 amazing community members each week. 

Some Feedback from our Garden Team: 
 

"The Grow Wānaka community garden has provided me not only with delicious, healthy food but a place of community and hope for the future. The space is deeply inspiring, people coming together to regenerate land. It is so beautiful to be a part of such meaningful work, giving people the knowledge to grow their own food while also creating space for belonging. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this space. Beyond this the organic produce has greatly supported my ability to eat well in the current economic situation. I am so grateful to this community of gardeners, it has been a huge part of staying in Wānaka."
 

"I had the chance to volunteer at Grow throughout my travels in NZ and it was absolutely a highlight of my trip. I had a fair interest in gardening before, but this well organised garden and it’s team have given me a lot of insights and know-how. I would love to live here because of this project and the beauty and energy it creates for everyone involved. Thank you very much to everyone responsible for creating this garden and project."

"I started coming to the garden my first week in Wānaka and it has given me such a big sense of community here. I have made so many beautiful friends through this project and I am beyond grateful for the joy, learning, and community the garden creates."

"The garen is one of the healthiest places I get to in my life. Having your hands in the soil gives you a big mental reward. Knowing the idea behind it and getting some delicious veggies for your support is also a great reason to get up early on a Saturday morning. I feel like I am surrounded by friends and can just chat about life while creating this beautiful space."

 

"I have been living in Wānaka for one year and I have found it hard to meet like minded people in the area. Coming to the community garden I have made so many good connections and learned lots of knowledgeable information about growing health food."

 

"Grow Wānaka is where I found my sense of community in this town. Wānaka is quite a transient place, so connecting to people can be hard. Coming to the garden was a huge turning point for me. It’s what’s kept me here. It made me feel like I was part of the community."

 

"To me, the garden is a place to charge my batteries both with exposure to nature and hands in the soil growing food, and connecting to beautiful people with a similar mindset."

 

"The garden is good for my mental health. It’s a good way to unwind from a busy week, and to meet new people, while learning and share ideas. It has a good friendly vibe, and is very welcoming."

 

"Volunteering here allows me to connect with nature, learn about gardening and have quality time with a diverse group of people. Happy times!"

 

"A great place to work together with other members of the community/travelers/visitors... To learn new skills and meet people and get to know their stories and visions."

 

"It’s community, nice and happy folks, being in nature, and delicious organic veggies plus communal morning tea."

 

"Always learn something new and enjoy meeting new people."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education 

2022-2023 we ran and participated in 6 Events, 5 Garden Tour and Education Sessions (for all age ranges and demographics), 5 Wānaka Primary School collaboration sessions, 5 monthly workshops on a diverse range of topics, and ran 48 Saturday morning working bees over the entire year.

2023 to 2024 we have run and participated in 5 Events, 4 Garden Tour and Education Sessions (for all age ranges and demographics), 6 monthly workshops on a diverse range of topics, which generated on average 12 to 25 community participants per workshop, and ran 49 Saturday morning working bees over the year.

We had 253 participants for our educational workshops and events this season. When we add in working bee sessions this brings the total to 1445 total garden participants for the year. 

 

 

 

 

 

Land Restoration 

We have made huge gains in significantly transforming our site with compacted degraded soil back to

a productive ecosystem with enhanced soil health and function to support a diverse range of plants, which are restoring water cycles, and biodiversity to the site.

Our brix readings are steadily improving and are now at 13. Our aim is to continue to enhance soil health and function for yearly improvements in brix readings.  

For our 2024 soil test results we have finally brought the majority of nutrients into balance using only the organic materials we have had on hand while driving biological activity. 

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