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The Waitaki Community Gardens is a place of opportunity.

Members of the community can go there to learn about propagating, growing and harvesting food, and other basic life skills; it grows food for the community; it offers work experience, to give people more skills in gardening and professional development; and, as a social hub, its working bees are a central meeting space for people from all walks of life to work together and increase community connectivity.

And beyond the gardens, the Waitaki Community Gardens Trust has been inspiring resilience, sustainability and knowledge-sharing in North Otago, growing its work in local schools and throughout the community.

To showcase all of the opportunities available, a harvest celebration is being held for the community on February 1, site and volunteer co-ordinator Ra McRostie said.

“The community gardens harvest celebration will be a really fun afternoon in a peaceful, feel-good environment. I’m looking forward to connecting with a wide variety of locals,

“This is such an abundant time of year. We have a wonderful variety of produce currently coming out of the gardens.”

Over the past year, volunteers gave 2461 hours of their time to help out at the gardens, but more support was always needed, Ms McRostie said.

“The community gardens is the perfect place to grow community, share information and learn new skills,” she said.

“There are working bees on Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons.

“There are also opportunities to work behind the scenes and use creative skills like photography or carpentry.”

Starting at 3.30pm, the celebrations will include a free gardening workshop that covers the basics of organic backyard gardening, and a pizza party and barbecue from 5pm to 7pm for people to enjoy the space and connect with each other.