In the News - Free food forest fine for foragers

In the News - Free food forest fine for foragers

More than 40 volunteers got stuck in with spades and wheelbarrows to transform Goodman Ledger Reserve on Motueka's Ledger Avenue into a place where people will be able to harvest fruit, nuts and herbs.

The project was spearheaded by new community group Our Kai Motueka, which partnered with Keep Motueka beautiful for the planting.

The idea was put to Keep Motueka Beautiful about a year ago and it received strong support, along with encouragement from reserve owner the Tasman District Council, which paid for half of the mulch. Our Kai Motueka also received funding through the Fonterra Grass Roots programme and Nelson Building Society, project instigator Petra Stephenson said.

Stephenson said the concept behind a food forest was to grow a mix of plants that made the project self-sustaining. Herbs such as parsley both shelter and feed beneficial insects while berry-producing trees will attract native birds that will help spread seeds and fertilise the ground.

It could take about three years for the food forest to reach a self-sustaining phase meaning no sprays would be needed.

Stephenson was thrilled with the turn-out of volunteers on Saturday, saying the project "was striking a chord because it means free food for the public and it only gets better from here on".

She had consulted with the reserve's neighbours who welcomed the initiative and the planting was planned to not shade any neighbours.

Among the workers on Saturday were members of Our Kai Motueka, some Wwoofers and families.

Helping to dig up squares of grass to prepare a spot to plant an apple tree, Lucas Ferne, 7, said he was "working for chocolate cake," a treat his mother Tracey Ferne had to reward her children for an afternoon of gardening.

Our Kai Motueka will have another working bee to establish a food forest behind the Motueka community gardens in early August and is looking for suggestions of other sites.

 - Stuff

 Helping to plant the first "food forest" at Goodman Ledger Reserve in Motueka on Saturday were, from left, Selina Walter, Martha Ferne, Lucas Ferne, Tracey Ferne, Jolie Ferne, and Chelsea Woolhouse.

Helping to plant the first "food forest" at Goodman Ledger Reserve in Motueka on Saturday were, from left, Selina Walter, Martha Ferne, Lucas Ferne, Tracey Ferne, Jolie Ferne, and Chelsea Woolhouse.