Many hands, light work . . . Waitaki Community Gardens manager Ra McRostie is hosting a community food forest working bee next Sunday. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

After a good amount of rain and sun, the Waitaki Community Gardens food forest has taken off and gardens manager Ra McRostie needs some help to deal with the growth.

On February 20, Ms McRostie is hosting a community working bee to help clear, mulch and plant the next stage of the food forest.

‘‘I’m confident that if we get a good group it could create quite a profound acceleration of the creation,’’ Ms McRostie said.

‘‘All aspects of community are invited and encouraged to participate, because that’s the point.’’

The food forest was started three and a-half years ago from a patch of grass and had grown into a ‘‘community food bank’’.

‘‘It’s pretty glorious and I feel so proud of the efforts that everyone thus far has put in to create such an amazing biodiverse abundance.’’

Food forests have arisen from the permaculture movement, based on the natural way a wild forest grows. The forest has seven layers of growth, from the canopy to the root vegetables below the soil.

Waitaki’s food forest is in the establishment phase, but Ms McRostie said it would soon produce food year-round.

People could access it in an ‘‘honourable way’’ to harvest food, herbs and medicine. It would then become a self-sustainable environment.

‘‘This food forest, particularly at this point, is a community space that was created with the kaupapa, the philosophy of sharing . . .a community space where everyone gets to find something to nourish them.’’

The working bee will run from 10am to 4.30pm, and people are asked to bring a shared plate for lunch.

Ms McRostie will supply food from the garden and, from 5pm onwards, she will host a barbecue bring-your-own dinner for all helpers.

If people were available for the entire day it would be great, but any time people could spare would be ‘‘phenomenally appreciated’’.

The gardens would supply the tools, but people were encouraged to bring weather-appropriate clothes, good footwear, a water bottle, ‘‘a sense of humour and a sense of community, because we will be all working together’’.

Social distancing would be encouraged, which was easy in the garden, and vaccination passes were not required, she said.

For more information, contact Ms McRostie on 021 115-4884.