The Grey Lynn Community Gardens are nestled in the Saint Columba Church grounds in the heart of Grey Lynn. It is a Living Community Trust Project that began in 2000. The Saint Columba Church and Community have provided a safe and highly supportive space for the Community Gardens to grow.
The intention of this Garden is for it to be a place where people can build a sense of community and connection with the earth and seasons. The gardens help us practice and enjoy being, working, learning and sharing with others. This gardening opportunity fosters a sense of respect and awe for the art of growing your own organic food. Growing a sense of confidence in our ability to nurture nature, manage our waste and sustain health and life. The Community Gardens nourishes the belly and the soul!
It is a volunteer project and it operates in a very open manner. Anyone on any day can come and explore the gardens. The Gardens have ‘Growing Together’ Sunday afternoons (5pm~8pm in Summer, 2pm~4pm in winter and 4pm~6pm in Spring and Autumn) – where gardeners and people interested in gardening can come, meet, exchange experiences, plant material and resources. We often eat together, share vegetables, recipes and herbal remedies. We have a general foraging policy where you can pick with respect anywhere in the gardens. We do have about 14 allotted areas where individuals tend and are guardians of ‘their’ plot but we also have communal areas. We have working bees to keep those communal plots planted and to invite people to come and enjoy and learn more about gardening. Hundreds of people of all ages, ethnic and social backgrounds have been involved in the Community gardens since its inception.
Permaculture and Organic Gardening are the main approaches applied in the garden. The Gardeners have been influenced by many philosophies and methods such as Biodynamics, The Slow food movement, Zero Waste principles and Deep Ecology.
To keep the gardening community inspired we have organized field trips to permaculture and organic gardens including Rainbow Valley Farm in Matakana and Koanga Gardens in Kaiwaka. Networking with institutions such as Unitec and other community gardens like Kelmarna Organic City Farm in Herne Bay to support us in the Gardening movement.
We have had stands at the Grey Lynn Festival in Grey Lynn Park which is attended by thousands of people. During the Festival we talk to hundreds of people, display images and information, give worm farm demonstrations and sell summer seedlings to promote gardening to the local community.
Every year the Community Gardens put on a Winter Solstice Celebration in The Saint Columba Community Hall. It’s a festive time to pay respects to Matariki, Papatuanuku and the people of our community. This year (2008) we fed 200 people dinner from the Grey Lynn Gardens, other supporting Community Gardens and the Kai Tika Organic Food Co-Op, also run by the Living Communities Trust. It is a major promotion of sustainable local living practices.
The Gardens have been resourced by the goodwill of volunteers. Our seed and plant material has been donated by the gardeners. There is a tool shed, a clubhouse, worm farms and composting facilities. Our water supply comes from the Saint Columba Community Hall roof. In time we will be able to integrate more fully with Saint Columba and its grounds, helping manage food waste and plant material through our worm farms, composting and mulching systems. We have hopes to strengthen our infrastructure so that we can be a greater community model and resource, to potentially provide open community workshops.
In a time when the cost of living is rising and our awareness of how dependent we are on our fragile environment, the Grey Lynn Community Gardens at Saint Columba are a precious asset for our future.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org