8 August 2017
New Zealand’s first ‘edible park’ and urban food hub is under way following Ōtākaro Orchard’s first community planting event.
The edible park is under construction in the heart of Christchurch, on a $3 million former office site close to the popular Margaret Mahy Family Playground.
Once completed it will feature a heritage orchard and multiple herb and vegetable beds showcasing various growing techniques.
It will also have a space for educational workshops, an amphitheatre, local food information centre and café.
The planting event on August 5 came three months after the team behind the project raised more than $365,000 in public donations and grant funding.
After a blessing from Matapopore chairperson Aunty Aroha Rereti-Crofts, over 70 people planted numerous fruit and nut trees in less than 30 minutes, and cleared ivy and debris on site.
"It was so wonderful to have the community on site and making it their own for the first time," says project coordinator Peter Wells.
Not only did the community help with planting activities, but also through providing food and drink for everyone.
"Thirteen local businesses [helped make] this all come together."
There will be another planting day in September and other next steps include paving, building planter beds and installing lighting.
It is expected the amphitheater and dome will be completed by December.
The Ōtākaro Orchard project is led by the Food Resilience Network, a collaboration of over 30 organisations and 150 people working together under the moniker Edible Canterbury to catalyse a strong local food economy in Canterbury.