Giant mushroom growing workshop with Sharn Steadman of Manaaki Mushrooms.
If you don’t have a particularly green thumb, the idea of growing a mini ecosystem in your backyard may seem out of the realm of possibility.
Grow On Katikati are on a mission to bury that belief.
The Katikati-based community group aims to build food resilience in the community by educating people on the ease and cost-saving benefits of growing your own fresh produce.
Through access to seeds, seedlings, education, and mentoring, Grow On Katikati Coordinator, Jizzy Green, hopes people will feel inspired and empowered to grow their connection with their backyard.
“Locals growing their own food will translate into healthier outcomes for many,” says Jizzy. “Food grown locally means more nutrient dense food (as it comes from garden to plate), greater connection to other growers, more food being shared and swapped, less money spent on food and more money for other rising living expenses. We enjoy seeing connections being made; we like to say we are growing commUNITY.”
Grow On Katikati has a number of initiatives to increase food security in the community, including a Garden Buddy system that matches people who need gardening space with those who have more than they can manage, a kids Seedlings Club, a Seed Library, and monthly workshops that teach seed sowing, fermenting, and many other skills.
Grow On Katikati recently collaborated with the Katikati Girl Guide Rangers, who helped to clean up two senior Grow On Katikati members' gardens.
“We currently have 111 members,” says Jizzy, “meaning there are 111 households all working toward some degree of food resilience in our area. There are also many ‘casual users’ who come and access their seedlings for a koha. It is great to see that we are working to create connectivity between members who would normally not have had the opportunity to interact with one another.
“We work on a sharing economy and on the first Saturday of the month, we host a Crop Swap, where locals can share their excess and take away something they may not have. Swaps include cuttings, seedlings, preserves, worm castings, fruit, veggies, nuts, kombucha scobies, sourdough starters, herbs etc.”
Recognising Grow On Katikati’s work in strengthening community connections through the growing and sharing of food, TECT has recently approved a $10,000 grant towards the organisation’s operating costs.
“Covid-19 taught us the importance of food security so that we are resilient in times of shortages,” says TECT trustee Peter Farmer.
“Now, with inflation and the rising cost of living impacting our food systems, we are presented with an opportunity to rethink our connection to food and experiment with ways to produce food ourselves to improve our personal food autonomy.
"We commend Grow On Katikati for the support they are delivering for their local community in this space.”