Community Gardens in seaside suburbs of Christchurch - Sumner and Redcliffs

Sumner Bays Union Trust has two community gardens under its umbrella in Christchurch. They are Sumner Community Garden and Redcliffs Community Garden "The Onion Patch". Each garden is different and defined by its physical location. Redcliffs is located on a former children's play area behind the Union Church on Augusta, and the Sumner garden is located beneath a cliff face behind the Anglican Church on Wakefield Avenue. Both have a core group of locals who work on the garden.

Redcliffs Community Garden got off the ground (not literally!) in 2009, which required the removal of a significant amount of old bark and concrete pilings from the play area. Christchurch group PEEEPS Trust was invaluable with its volunteers who dug out and took away the bark, saving the gardeners an enormous amount of work. Dave Swann is another volunteer whose networks through his work were invaluable for sourcing good quality top soil and compost, and bringing it down to the garden, sometimes in a tip truck. The age range in this garden group is broad - young children through to elderly - and its focus has always been about building relationships between members of the community. The sheer amount of food grown this summer has been amazing for such a small garden. I have enjoyed sitting outside eating my lunch under the big tree, admiring the garden, with gardeners for company this week. The local kindy has played a part too. They have grown lots of cabbages, carrots, radishes, and pumpkins.

Sumner Community Garden has been slower in development as we had some major issues finding a suitable site. There isn't very much flat land available in Sumner, and it took most of last year to pin down a site. The site does get shaded during the winter because of the cliff it is under, but we have been assured that it gets full sun till at least 3 pm over summer. The group consists of a number of younger people and their families, many of whom are keen to grow local food sustainably, using organic methods, using locally sourced raw materials where possible.

If you are keen to be involved, contact me at 3764020,

Warm regards,

Esther Hayes

Community Development Worker

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