Turning the soil . . . Waitaki Community Gardens site and volunteer co-ordinator Ra McRostie has been working hard teaching courses, hosting events and running working bees at the gardens for springtime. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

An intimate gathering of community members learning how to nourish the land and replenish the soil was “powerful”, Waitaki Community Gardens site and volunteer co-ordinator Ra McRostie says.

The gardens hosted a Celebration of Spring Abundance last week, at which guest speakers Waitaki District Council biodiversity adviser Gareth Boyt, Geopark geologist Sasha Morriss, gardens volunteer Chris Johnston and Ms McRostie shared their knowledge about biodiversity, soil origins, nourishing weeds and Maramataka, the Maori lunar calendar.

About 40 people attended the first mini-conference, followed by a shared feast, and it was hailed a “fantastic” success.

“It was amazing – it was really unique . . . the speakers spoke about a really broad range of things that relate to our land right here,” Ms McRostie said.

“Everyone was really engaged.”

It was just one of several educational activities taking place at the gardens recently. Ms McRostie will host a Seed to Table workshop next month, centred on learning to grow your own food and from soil to permaculture.

“It’s growing knowledge in the broader way, so even if you’ve had no experience, after this course you should be able to reasonably confidently get your hands in the soil and start to do it.”

Another course would begin in February, she said.

High-school environment groups were using the gardens, migrant workers were setting up their own patches and volunteers were getting involved in working bees too.

A twice-weekly community garden market would start up soon, where community members could buy produce grown at the gardens, and further produce was given to the volunteers and Oamaru Foodbank.

The gardens were open for all community members to explore. For more information, contact Ms McRostie on 021115-4884.affiliate link traceNike Shoes