Ooooby is an acronym for Out Of Our Own Back Yards. It is an initiative that is all about inspiring, encouraging and enabling people to grow their own food. It has an online presence in the form of this social network site, and now a physical presence in the form of The Ooooby Store at 8 Putiki Rd, Waiheke Island.

We took over the garden centre on January 1st, and beginning on Friday the 2nd, spent the last week running as we prepared for the Ooooby Store open day on Saturday.

There was much to be done.

The support from within the community and around the country was nothing short of amazing! I said to Pete Russell at one point early in the week, that we are in spirit with this project, it is going to happen with or without us. People kept showing up just at the right time to complete some part of the picture, bring a resource that was needed, or offer to bring more energy to the project.

Paul Cohen offered to arrange the music and this is what he came up with! Katy Soljak, Al Reeves, Chocolate Fish and Aaron Carpenter. Anu from Chocolate Fish even wrote a special Ooooby song all about food growing and community!

Jo Pearsall and Kay Baxter sent us books, the Wairerapa Growing Company organised to send us the full range of Koanga seeds and a display stand, we managed to get a delivery of vege, herb and some flower seedlings, two pallets of compost and some NZ Rock dust, new stocks of fruit trees. We took almost all of Placemakers Niwashi hand tools, and Klaus finished turning a whole lot of paper pot makers. So altogether there was just enough stock to show we are serious about inspiring, encouraging and enabling people to grow their own food.

The workshops which we had arranged to take place on the day were a big hit! We had four half-hour classes, and each one was well attended. People want to learn the skills! This will become a key focus of the Ooooby Store from here on in.

Ken's Avocado grafting class. Ken is known for his passion for Square Foot gardens and will oversee the installation of one at the Store. He is also the driving force behind the Pumpkin Patch - a cooperative pumpkin growing initiative on the island.

Rob Morton talks about growing fruit trees on Waiheke. Rob and the Transition Waiheke team were instrumental in the establishment of the first community Orchard in Surfdale.

Before the classes were over the music began...

In this 50 second video you can see Al Reeves playing "Stand by me", some folks admiring a folding electric bike, the pita pockets food stand, me and Kim enjoying the event, and a quick glance down one of the plant aisles to see a workshop in progress.

We had 100's of people come through and get a taste of what Ooooby is all about. If you want to get a feel for how we see Ooooby evolving, check out this 2 minute video with Pete and I. And if you want to explore the possibility of setting up an Ooooby Store in your region, get in touch with us, or leave a note/comment here.

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Comment by Tamzin Pinkerton on January 12, 2009 at 11:43pm
I am amazed at the speed and the dynamism - very well done! Oooobarama!

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