The Kawerau Urban Food Forest (KUFF) was approved after the team behind it pitched the project to Kawerau District Council earlier this month.
Neighbourhood of Healthy Homes co-ordinator Hannah Edwardson said the project’s aim was to establish a two-hectare forest of food-bearing trees and shrubs on a portion of Monika Lanham Reserve.
A community garden and nursery would also be established on a smaller .4ha site belonging to Kawerau Life Konnect.
Ms Edwardson said the estimated cost would be $70,000.
The KUFF team has applied to the Transpower Community Care Fund for a $42,000 grant and for $25,000 from Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
Kawerau District Council will lease the two hectares of recreational reserve and donate compost, mulch and expert knowledge.
Ms Edwardson said the trees planted would provide fruit all year – stone fruit in the summer, pears, apples and other heritage varieties in autumn and citrus fruit in the winter. Included in the forest will be companion plantings of berries, nuts and herbs.
The vegetables will provide fresh vegetables all year for the community, Neighbourhood of Healthy Homes cooking classes and the Kawerau Life Konnect café.
The nursery will also be a place for workshops on seed gathering, sowing and other aspects of gardening.
Ms Edwardson said excess seedlings would be sold to provide some financial support back to the project.
Kawerau schools would be closely involved and there would be “opportunities for students to get NCEA qualifications in a variety of areas”.
“Children will be able to walk between the sites and pick and eat healthy food.
“As a general principle, public access will be encouraged.
“Signage with gathering and picking instructions will accompany planting to promote community education.”
The KUFF team is Ms Edwardson, team designer and horticulturist Trish Brady, permaculture expert Lesley Ralph, horticulturist and
Kawerau Life Konnect’s Georgette Paul and Tarawera High School year-10 students Dylan Edwardson, Niamh O’Brien and Akeylah Wade.
“We wanted year 10 students so they are involved right from the beginning and by the time they finish high school the project will be established,” Ms Edwardson said.
The KUFF team would now launch the project to the Kawerau community.
Ms Brady said people would be invited to put their name forward to be involved in jobs such as site preparation, building, planting and managing the nursery, glasshouses and workshops.
Site preparation would begin in December and tree planting, shrubs and ground cover would take place in February and March next year.
Source: Whakatane Beacon