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2012 Annual General Meeting: (August 9th)

Thirteen people attended the meeting, which followed a shared finger food and soup meal. Chairperson Tara Forde spoke about the success of the allotments system, which began a year ago with uncertain expectations but now has 15 people actively involved. She said one issue that continues to challenge the trustees is ongoing funding and making the gardens financially self-sufficient and sustainable.

The trust's aims for the coming year include installing and using a biodigester, setting up a "social" area with BBQ, chairs, tables and a children's area, installing the western grapevine fence, and planning the taming and use of the extra land at the back made available by the council.

Treasurer Sue Clark's financial report was read. Her hard work over the year has given us a clearer picture of the financial position and systems have been put in place for keeping an accurate account from here on forward. Allotment holders have been issued with invoices for the 2012/2013 year and $501 has been received to date. It has been agreed that, in future, new allotment holders will pay up front making it less of a problem to collect their dues. Sue has resigned from her position and she was warmly thanked.

The Allotment Agreement has been revamped and very clearly sets out the requirements of the Community Gardens, providing, at the same time, contact details. The Gardens are on a sound footing with a balance of $2334.13 as at today's date but it must be remembered that the bio-digester has yet to be purchased as does the fencing and materials that have been agreed upon by the Trust members. It could mean that there will be a balance in the region of $1000 for the next 12 months.

The existing trustees - Tara Forde, Ellen Baldwin, Ron Sharp, Sue Walker and David Armstrong - indicated their willingness to continue as trustees. The following people were accepted and elected as officers: Chairwoman - Tara Forde, secretary - David Armstrong, treasurer - Kahu Geor. Sue Clark's resignation as treasurer and committee member was accepted. The following people offered to work on the committee, and were duly elected: Fran Forsey, Grant Douglas, Meg Ito.

It was agreed that, by following good succession planting regimes, enough food should be grown to ensure that volunteer workers can take home what produce they need, and that any surplus can then be delivered to food banks. The aim, though, is to not have a large amount of surplus.

A visioning and planning meeting, open to everyone, will be held at the gardens on August 26th at noon, to decide on work priorities for the next year in preparation for setting a budget.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 28 May 2012]

Trust Deed: We received a letter from the Charities Commission asking for more information supporting our application for registration, particularly about our commercial goals as a registered company. We decided we did definitely not want to get into profit-making activities, and will amend the Trust Deed to remove all references to activities of a commercial nature. This will be resubmitted for a new registration as a trust.

AGM: We decided to have August 13th (or earlier) as our AGM date, subject to the Community House being free. The event to start at 6pm with shared food.

Working bees will continue to be on Sundays and Fridays, even though there is not a lot of work to do at present. The possibility of accommodating some bee hives at the back of the property was discussed. We will not pay for them, but should investigate if local bee keepers may be interested in locating hives here, given that Wakatu had hives nearby in the new subdivision.

New trustee: Sue Walker said she would be happy to replace Elanor as a trustee, and the trustees accepted her offer with thanks.

Allotment agreement: The final draft was examined and accepted apart from a few minor typographical errors, plus a statement to be added under "Gardening Principles" stating that the main purpose of an allotment holder must be to grow produce for private consumption, intended to signal that we don't want people using plots for primarily for commercial gain. The final agreement will be presented to the public prior to the AGM.

Works Committee, and roles in the garden: There was considerable discussion on the decision making process in the works committee on the day-to-day running of the gardens. The problems of balancing democracy (majority vote) with consensus (discussion and agreement) were discussed. It was agreed that the job of the Works Supervisor is to implement the decisions made by the works committee.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 30 April 2012]

David said the Charities Commission had still not responded to our application to register. No progress also with the promotional pamphlet. Comments on the proposed logo suggested a simpler design is needed. We will all send our suggestion to Kahu who will collate them for a vote at the next meeting.

The shade house is almost complete, with the weed mat and other materials for the floor ready to go down. New plants and seeds have been put in for winter crops. The harvest surplus has been going to Red Cross on Fridays, and this needs to be changed to Sunday or Monday in future. However, there will be no surpluses to deliver until spring.

The suggestion to use half of the shade house as a plastic-covered hot house was discussed again, Grant having received price estimates for a cheaper solution. It was decided to look at this again around July/August.

Resignation of Elanor: Elanor Steadman has resigned as a trustee as she is moving to Australia. Tara will contact her to thank her for her work with us over the past 8 months.

Allotment agreement: Every one worked through the draft agreement as circulated and decisions were made on a range of points. It was also agreed that invoices sent out on July 1st this year will allow credit for payments for the current year that are not fully used. Kahu will rewrite the final draft of the agreement and present it (via earlier email) for ratification at our next meeting.

Works Committee: Agreed that, given more people are now actively working at the gardens, more people should be involved in the day-to-day decision making and garden planning and organising working bees. Instead of just a works manager or overseer, we will set up a works committee which will meet at the gardens for such planning work, and report monthly to the trustees. Members of the committee initially will include Sue W, Kahu, Ellen, Ron (occasionally), Grant, and possibly Kevin Smith. Meetings will be open to any gardeners to attend. The first meeting will be next Friday, with suggested agenda items being: harvesting, options for this year's kumara/corn and potato patch, herb garden, the future of Adam's allotment, and Grant's weekly visits with a view to providing tasks for volunteers over winter.

AGM: Tara will talk with John Murphy as to how quickly he could audit the accounts which Sue C will provide, after July 1st. This will determine when the AGM can be held, but the aim is currently for late July to early August.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 2 April 2012]

Tara has added some graphics to the promotional pamphlet and some further discussion followed about other details to be included. Kahu will work with Tara to complete the design and content for the next meeting.

There was some discussion about the principles underlying the payment of $170 by Ron to Stihl for repairing Vince's rotary hoe when it broke down while hoeing in the gardens. It was agreed that in principle owners of equipment used in the gardens are responsible for their use and costs of repairs. It was also agreed that these principles of use of private equipment must be made clear in the agreement for allotment holders.

The shade house is almost complete, and just needs the floor to be sorted out. It was decided to use wool carpet and plenty of cardboard to discourage weeds. Winter crops are now being prepared. Sue W. and Kahu are working on two new communal beds, experimenting with some different techniques.

Three further people have asked for allotments. This led to discussion about how to progress the rental agreement to a completed state as soon as possible, or at least by the AGM in August. It was also agreed that when the agreement is finalised we will need to set up procedures that will ensure payments are made and agreements signed before plots can be allotted.

Tara and Kahu will work together on finalising the agreement for the next meeting, possibly also circulating drafts by email, and Sue W. will provide input on behalf of allotment holders.

The suggestion to use half of the shade house as a plastic-covered hot house was discussed. With the projected cost of at least $400 for the plastic, it was decided that this project be placed on the wishlist when more funds are available.

New trustees / committee members: Sue Walker, Kahu Geor and Grant Douglas were formally and warmly welcomed to the meeting. Grant said he was happy to become a trustee again, Kahu would like to be just a committee member for now and to offer her services in the area of communications and public relations, and Sue will also be just a committee member and serve as a representative of the allotment holders.

Funding: It was agreed that before we try a round of applications for funds from the various sources available, we need to have a list of projects and items for which funds would be needed, so we can apply to specific sources for specific purchases. We have a wishlist from last year, and need to update and expand it to reflect the way the gardens have evolved over the past 6 months.

People's roles in the gardens: Ellen sought clarification of who should be making decisions in the day-to-day running of the communal areas of the gardens. (Private allotments are the responsibility of the renters only.) Ron said he sees the garden roles evolving with growth and experience, and there should be no need for formal roles. Most agreed that at least there needs to be a way to pass on instructions as to what work should be done next by volunteers. It was felt that when a shed-side noticeboard is erected this will be used to pass around these messages for anyone to see.

Grant's workshops: Grant said he wanted to resume his workshops in spring, and to run fewer of them so they can be better attended. He also offered himself to the committee in a mentoring role rather than a physical (gardening) role, and hoped to be able to walk around the gardens every Friday helping people to learn about good gardening and making lists of work that needs doing in the following weeks, forming the basis of the noticeboard instruction list. These schedules could then be published in various media by Kahu and others, including on the garden's Motueka Online page.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 8 March 2012]

David found from the Charities Commission that it takes 16 weeks to get okayed, so it will take another 2 months at least until we hear the outcome. The promotional pamphlet was remade by David, so far as text only. Tara will work with David in the next week or so to add graphics.

The Garden Tour / Open Day was successful, with a good number of people attending and many staying on for a while, expressing interest in helping out.

Approval was given for payments to be made to Ron as reimbursement for his payments for items related to the construction of the shadehouse and repair of the mower. Approval also given for Ron to purchase shadecloth based on the $140 (approx) quote from ITM, with Ron to purchase the unused materials.

Ron reported that in his opinion the people working regularly at the gardens, including allotment holders, are now working pretty well together and the operation as a whole is entering a mature state, so there is no need to call a meeting of all workers to sort out any problems.

Sue Walker has informally expressed interest in attending meetings and perhaps becoming a trustee. David will write her a letter formally inviting her attendance.

Allotment rules: Any recent disagreements have been sorted out as they arose, so there is no urgent need for a meeting with allotment users to thrash out rules. However, we need to come up with a draft agreement ready for circulation and then final adoption at the next AGM. Any meeting in the meantime should be targeted at the Harvest Festival day event.

2012 AGM: As the financial year ends on June 30th and it is desirable we get allotment rentals allocated in good time for spring, it was decided our AGM should be held early in August.

Harvest Festival day: The poster has been put into shops, and a copy will be laminated by Sue to place on the noticeboard. Considerable discussion took place on details of entertainment, children's games, purchase of apple juice, dressing up, and other components. We will meet at the gardens on the preceding Saturday at 3pm to finalise food and other details.

Working bees: As days shorten, Tuesday evening working bees will stop in two weeks.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 6 February 2012]

David has applied for registration with the Charities Commission, about 3 weeks ago, and is awaiting their reply as to whether we are approved and if so, our registration number for people to claim tax on. Sue has added her signature to the bank account authorisation so now we have 3 signatories.

The promotional pamphlet was considered and it was decided that David will re-work it to include easier to read typeface and some more attractive diagrams, etc. David & Tara will work together to get a final product within 2 weeks so it will be printable well in advance of the Harvest Day event.

Ron presented three quotes for a total of $180.91 for materials to build a drain for the wet area around the sheds - approved to purchase.

There is more demand for further allotments by some new interested people. The propagation shed is progressing well, with all walls in place. Ron will get a quote for mesh cloth for the roof, and will get weed mat and shingle for the floor. Dan has done excellent work extending and redesigning the irrigation system to service the allotments. Ron obtained some more free sawdust to replenish the walkways. He requested we get a motor mower for the grass, and Sue kindly donated her mower which is no longer needed.

Produce distribution: Two new people from Christchurch, Joe and Paula, have kindly offered to look after this and have been doing it weekly, taking surplus to needy groups like the Sallies.

Harvest Festival BBQ: This will go ahead on Sunday March 25 at 1pm. Attractions which we will investigate and prepare include some kind of musical entertainment, and one or two activities for children such as making a scarecrow or painting a mural.

Allotment rules: It was decided that they can basically stay as they are until the start of the next growing season, with changes only to the cost (to $1 per sq.m.), maximum plot size (removed) and a comment added that allotment holders are encouraged to help out with the communal areas at some working bees. Tara to get this finalised, ready for October when the whole system should be administered smoothly and as intended.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 9 January 2012]

All was going well and the gardens are being kept in good order. Produce is not doing as well as in the previous season, most likely due to the excessive recent rain.

It was agreed that a new main gate post and proper securing mechanism be purchased and that the post hole digger be used to re-install the gate properly. Elanor will make a simple sign asking people to keep the gate shut.

It was agreed that the walking paths beside the communal plots could do with some topping up of sawdust and cardboard, and that as a first step Ellen ask Talley's to dump loads of mussel shells for crushing and spreading around beds 6 and 7. If this goes well, it will be extended to the other current paths.

Harvest BBQ: Tara will organise this BBQ-based event on Sunday March 25 at 1pm. Mainly for allotment holders and volunteers, but families in general to be invited. Tara to ask TDC for funding and help in publicising the event, and ask New World for some food donation. Danielle to be asked to design a poster.

Charities Commission: David found that our registration as a trust with the Companies Office did not include names of trustees so he spent some time getting that set up online. He reported that the process to register with the Charities Commission was complicated but now with all the trustee details written up he will get it done before the next meeting.

TDC grant: The $2000 requested has been approved and should have been received. For next meeting all trustees are to come with a list of things we could spend it on over the year, and the committee will make strategic planning decisions on the priorities.

Logo: Elanor showed a logo idea she'd come up with and it was accepted. To be made mainly for black & white usage.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 5 December 2011]

1. The trustees welcomed Sue Clark to join committee meetings and perform the task of treasurer, and Elanor Stedman was appointed a trustee.

2. Treasure matters: The end-of-year accounting date was decided on as June 30th. Sue will start her book-keeping from that date, 2011 onward, using an Excel spreadsheet.

3. Funding: Tara reported her meeting with Rob Francis, which ended up with him agreeing to provide $2000 for some agreed purchase items upon presentation of an invoice. Tara will send the invoice for $300 for more irrigation, $300 for signage around the gardens, $1000 for raised bed materials and $400 for a propagation shed. Rob indicated that TDC will pay for reasonable costs for promotion, advertising and meeting room hire along with grants for specific events - such as the $200 provided for the forthcoming Children's Day.

4. Donations: The Warehouse has chosen the gardens as the recipient of its December "loose change" donations, which is a wonderful gesture to us that we believe is an acknowledgement of our providing food to the Red Cross and other good work in the community.

5. Allotments: There was considerable discussion about the progress with running and managing allotments and the people renting them. It was agreed that the rules set out in the agreement need to be reviewed and refined in an attempt to minimise any friction between allotment holders. It was thought that the rules already have the scope within them to handle some of the more common areas of dispute, but some other ones may be necessary to make aspects clearer and to ensure that the communal gardens are still worked on by a good number of people.

Given there has been a little vandalism in the allotments, the allotment holders will be asked to put up a sign to show their "ownership" of the plot. The soil that was to be purchased for Ellen's allotment was in fact provided by a contractor at the nearby subdivision work so no payment was required, saving us $160.

6. Children's Day: For planting sunflower seedlings, postponed from Sunday due to rain until Tuesday 4.30pm. The aim is to encourage use of the gardens by families as a place to go to relax and learn. If it rains again, switch to Sunday December 18 at 1pm.

7. Pamphlet: Dinah provided a final draft for the committee to consider. A few additions were made. David will approach Matt Tait to make an electronic version of it and then we will get Rob/TDC to print.

8. Charities Commission: Following advice from John Murphy, we will apply to the Commission for charitable status so donors can get tax rebates. David is part way through gathering the forms and once we have all signed the trustee forms David will submit them for registration.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 7 November 2011]

1. Funds: The bank account has about $107 in it and Ron has about $70 in petty cash in hand, so there is still the need to be careful with any spending. However, with rentals for allotments coming in, this will take a small amount of pressure off. However, some serious work still needs to be done to obtain some significant money from funding agencies. Tara will urgently liaise with Rob Francis to find out exactly how to go about applying for funds being held by the DHB on behalf of the TDC. Following this, Tara and Ron will join a meeting with Megan and others associated with similar work at Parklands School to see if we can work together on any combined initiatives.

2. Allotments: Ellen summarised the excellent and extensive work that has been done over the past month preparing the communal beds and starting private allotments. Regular contributions of green matter from Tasman Lawnmowing Co and of horse manure is pleasing. More volunteers are helping out, and some allotment users, particularly Vince, are donating time in the communal area also. There are now 11 people who have expressed interest in renting allotments, all bar Ellen and Dinah for non-raised plots. The per-metre cost was finally fixed at $2 for raised beds and $1 for flat plots. We need to now formalise the informal work done so far by getting all allotment renters to sign the agreement and pay their money.

3. Working bees: With daylight savings, the Tuesday evening at 7pm working bee will be re-instituted.

4. ATET equipment: The hothouse, propagation house and poles are still available to pick up but this should be done soon. Ron and Kevin to start on this now, and Ron to get PD boys in to get the poles out of the ground. For now, the material is donated free, but when we get more funds we could give a donation back to them.

5. Produce distribution: Dinah, with the possible help of Grant, will provide labels to be placed regularly beside crops that are ready to be harvested in part or full. Dinah will manage distribution to groups serving needy people, asking for some donation in return. Ron will discuss this with Dinah to see if she would look after this aspect of the gardens operation and what plan she would use for distribution.

6. Pamphlet: Dinah has submitted a fold-over A4 pamphlet promoting the gardens, which one of Dinah's relatives who is a graphics designer could make up ready for photocopying and distribution around town. David to work with Dinah on the material to be included in the pamphlet.

Meeting minutes:
[For Annual General meeting, 3 October 2011]

View the minutes of the 2011 Annual General meeting here »

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 7 September 2011]

1. The meeting tabled emailed resignations from the trustees of Richie Atkins, Lisa Cahalane and Grant Douglas. We need to appoint new trustees, including a permanent treasurer. We decided to hold our AGM soon with particular emphasis on getting some other people enthused to participate and get a new buzz going for the coming year. The AGM will be held on Monday October 3rd at 7pm at the Community House.

2. Works report (Ron): The two newest beds are complete and ready for use. Two volunteers - Kevin and Wetere - are coming weekly to help with various labour tasks under Ron's direction. The strawberries have been moved to a permanent bed which will be dedicated to perennials. Ellen with the help of Eileen is working out the organisation of what will be planted in which beds and when.
Ron has acquired a variety of berry canes ready for planting in new areas. The allotment area is still being broken up, and potatoes have been planted in one central part of that area.

3. Allotments: Tara this week will complete a document to be signed by renters setting out the levels of expectation and guidelines. To be circulated among trustees for comment, ready for our AGM. It will include some new ideas floated at this meeting including renting out in square-metre areas, and the option of offering areas that are not in raised beds if allotment users so wish.

4. Funding: We have applied for $4000 from TDC's Grants from Rates scheme and will know the result before the end of this month. Tara will also enter us for an environmental award coming up.

5. Policy on Distribution of Produce: To go on the agenda for the next regular meeting - working out a policy on how produce will be used and distributed this summer.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 6 July 2011]

1. The allotment area (behind the sheds) received its first turning over (successfully) by John Fowler of Riwaka. The PD lads will be asked to remove large stones and start picking over cooch weeds. The next tilling will be done after some cooch starts to come away again.
2. Neil Jackson provided the next lot of topsoil and compost for the two new beds, at a cheap rate. The small number of working bee attenders have dug in the lupins and raked the grass for mowing. It is time to start turning our own compost heaps. The weedeater with its harness has proven to be easy to use and effective. We will need to obtain more cardboard and sawdust to cover the gaps between the new beds.
3. The new sign will be assembled by David at home and trailored to the gardens on Sunday afternoon July 24th, where we will dig the holes and install it.
4. Garden area plan. David drew up a to-scale plan on computer, which can be updated easily as new additions or other changes are made in time. It's placed on Motueka Online.
5. Funding from TDC / NBPH. Tara was investigating this, so we await her report. Comments passed during the past few weeks suggest that the funds available will be contestable and divided among various projects, so we need to get clarity on this as soon as possible so we do not miss out due to late application.
6. Planting for spring. Now that we have essentially achieved (or in process) most of our list of goals for winter, we now need to plan what to plant where in time for spring. We decided that first we need to formalise policy on where we get seeds and plants from and, in particular, what we do with surplus produce. Grant will prepare a proposal for comment and adoption by the trustees by spring, for the existing beds, including ideas for where permanent crops like rhubarb and asparagus will go. A goal for the next two months, therefore, is to finalise a policy on produce distribution.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 13 June 2011]

1. So much rain recently, especially on Fridays, hampering working bees. Bob Cooke has mowed the area for us - thanks Bob. Some beautification has been done at the front of the section, thanks to donated plants from Grant. Sunday working bees have attracted a few new people, mainly doing maintenance. Ellen has donated a few tools, but there has been no response to adverts for tools. The rain showed lots of puddling around the shed area, and Bob Cooke kindly installed a sump and drainage to let much of it run away to the creek. One of the manure bins at the A&P showgrounds was emptied and shifted to the gardens, and will be repeated. Rain has held up the turning of the soil where the next allotments are to be.
2. Signage: Tara will present our application for $500 from the Community Board's discretionary fund at the board's meeting Tuesday 14th. Total cost with white noticeboard will be $540 incl GST. Discussion on whiteboard versus glass-encased noticeboard, resulted in decision to use whiteboard. We are to proceed with constructing the sign as soon as funds are approved. Will hire a post-hole digger.
3. Allotments. General discussion about how to proceed, who will use allotments, how many to build and how much we will provide versus the renters building their own. It was decided that we should not expect users to pay for infrastructure (soil, raised beds etc) as then they may want a refund when they cease using a plot. If we build them, they will revert to communal plots if renters stop using them.
Decided to build 5 new allotment plots behind the sheds, plus 1 and one-half extra communal beds to the west of the existing 5 plots. We need to get the friendly digger-operator to turn over the area for allotments as soon as possible and up to three times so we may be ready for the spring planting. Then will use PD workers in August to keep digging it over to remove weeds as much as possible.
4. Garden area plan. Grant presented his ideas for future plot development and allocation, which was warmly accepted by all. David will draw it to scale and place it on our website and elsewhere for future reference.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 4 May 2011]

1. We accepted the resignation of Richie from being chairman (though staying on as trustee) and thanked him for giving the project a great kick start over the past six months. Tara Forde was elected as the new chairwoman.
2. Much of the rest of the meeting established our five top priorities for the winter period. They are:
  a. Private allotments. Tara will draw up a timeline on how to prepare plots and sell allotments. This to include guidelines and policies on usage, how the beds will be made, fees charged, publicity.
  b. Noticeboard/sign. We will split the project into two stages, the first being a basic sign of two posts and a single board with the title on it. Stage 2 would be for later to add a lockable noticeboard beneath it for more detailed information. Funding for stage 1 to be requested from the Community Board.
  c. Area beautification. Grant to prepare for the next meeting a plan for simple beautification steps with pathways, shrubs etc for the front area and perhaps the sides.
  d. Sheltered work area (plus some simple propagation facilities). Grant to bring a suggested design for an open-sided sheltered building for the space already prepared.
  e. Construct another 2 or 3 plots. To be built to the west of the existing 5 plots and within the drive strip. Part or all of these could be used by Grant as a model garden.
3. Works report (Ron):   a. Ron had offered $100 to a contractor to mow and rotary hoe, in his own time, the area to the back of the section currently unused, to the back of the TDC boundary line.
  b. Sheds are secure and ready to house tools. Lisa will advertise for donated tools, including in Buy Sell Exchange, also for a cheap trailer.
  c. Need to cover the compost bins. Grant to advise on a cheap solution.
  d. During winter to use cut carpet strips to discourage couch growth in walkways between beds. Could get more carpet from recycling, but must be wool (not synthetic).

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 6 April 2011]

1. Treasurer's report: The bank account has been set up with Lisa, Tara and David as signatories (any two required). The balance in the account is now approx $2300. Lisa will investigate with Kiwibank about the best way of setting up an eftpos card for purchases; Ron will be provided with a cash box and a float of $100 for petty cash purchases (all receipts to be kept for records).
2. Works report (Ron): Dan has made an excellent floor for the shed and will buy and install locks for the sheds. We can now gather donated tools. Keith Fry has offered quite a few, and Ellen has several.
3. Thoughts about how to prepare the large area behind the sheds ready for allotments (or final decided use). General belief was that we should follow a plan of hiring some heavy equipment to thoroughly turn over the area and then ask PD lads to work it over regularly to finally get rid of the couch grass. Ron will price the hire of appropriate machinery for the next meeting.
4. Feijoas and other plants to go in next week along the prepared western boundary. Two loads of horse manure have been added to the compost, which is now looking good. Weed control is not much of a problem at present and is being handled manually, though some is starting to push up in the sawdust areas.
5. Working bees - Sundays only during winter.
6. Sign/noticeboard. We should start again based on Rob Hicks' design but using only the central portion. Ron will approach two sign makers for quotes on a board with the name across the top and a lockable cabinet for notices and other explanatory material to display.
7. Direction of the garden, strategy development. Discussion on future planning took place. Ideas were put forward about offering allotments next season, talking with Grant about him providing workshops using a family garden plot concept, policies on distribution of produce, the possibilities of offering a stall at the Sunday market etc.
David suggested using the winter period to work hard on building a step-by-step plan on the most important projects that can be achieved for and during next season, developing strategies and action plans to achieve them, and avoiding getting bogged down with later projects. To this end, David will gather everyone's ideas on what are the (up to) 5 major projects to achieve for the rest of this year, and collate them for our next meeting, where we can decide which projects to attack.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 2 February 2011]

1. Finances. Funds balance stood at $2502.37. Lisa will set up a bank account at Kiwibank and obtain an eftpos card, the account to have as signatories Lisa, Ritchie and David. In general, future small purchases will be made by trustees from their own pocket and receipts sent by hand or electronically to Lisa, who will recompense by electronic bank transfer.
2. Trust deed. The final deed was read and discussed, and signed by those present.
3. Weed control. The cardboard and sawdust covering of the paths is about 2/3 complete, with a heap of sawdust still to be laboriously moved and spread.
4. Website. Rob will create a free Weebly website for the Gardens project which will be used to house all our documents, plus any commentary, discussion and photos. The pages on Motueka Online will be used to access the Weebly site.
5. Meetings. It was agreed that trustee meetings need be held only monthly from now on.
6. Sheds. The first shed has been set up on site and the second one will be assembled next Monday.
7. Safety. Given that we hope to attract children and young families to work on the gardens, it was felt important that the sharp edges of the garden beds be addressed by some method to stop people being cut and bruised around the legs when walking by them. Ideas sought.
8. General issues.
(a) The idea was floated of hiring a general manager of the gardens, but it was agreed not to at this stage.
(b) The possibility of setting up meaningful work (including possibly their own plots) for groups such as the Steiner school and/or Corrections work gangs was discussed and considered worthy of further investigation as we struggle to get other people involved in the work.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 19 January 2011]

1. Trust deed. As the final draft deed was not available, the signing of it was put off to the next meeting in two weeks for signing by the trustees.

2. Weed control. After spraying, some cardboard has been collected and placed over the sprayed areas but a great deal more will be needed. Also sawdust will need to be applied soon, before the weeds start regrowing.

3. Sign. The sign makers were still closed last week, so Rob hoped to get a quote for the sign early next week when they return from holiday.

4. Planning. The bulk of the meeting was spent deciding on what infrastructure and installations would be needed into the future and to select areas for each of them, building up a basic plan for the whole available land area.

(a) Private allotments will be offered to individuals to look after themselves, hopefully by the start of the next season (spring). The garden committee will build them and people will rent space at an annual rate to be determined. The allotments - perhaps up to 10 of them - will run across the plot behind the sheds and communal work area, and be the same size as the existing plots.
(b) Sheds. These will sit near the eastern compost bin area. Two will be purchased.
(c) Fruit trees. These will be grown around the perimeter of the land. Which types, to be determined.
(d) Family plot. The proposed 10m x 10m plot to be used as a model plot for an average family will be to the west of the shed and communal work area, and may also be used for educational work.
(e) Children's play area. To be beside (probably to the east of) the open potting/work building.
(f) Potting building. Between and to the south of the compost bins. Four sturdy posts and clear plastic roof (no walls).
(g) Worm farm. In principle, yes, though we would need to ensure regular feeding by committee member(s)
(h) Front area. The area across the front to include: the sign, a break cut in the current fence, some native trees grown at the front to make the approach "mysterious" and soft, a short path over 2 metres wide leading from that entrance to the communal beds, some further picnic tables and seating, an area for a sales table for regular product distribution and sausage sizzle, and many beds of herbs.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 5 January 2011]

1. Weed control. Bob Cooke has sprayed all weeds in the walkways between the beds and to about 1 metre around all beds. Cardboard is now being collected from retailers ready to place over the sprayed areas once the killing has been effective, and sawdust will then be poured on top of this. It was noted that the collection of such donated materials as cardboard and carpet needs to be managed so as not to allow the area to look like a dumping ground.

2. Water. The T tape and water feeds to them were installed in most beds since last meeting, and the remainder will be installed tomorrow.

3. Compost areas. The compost in the temporary bins will be shifted (without weeds) to the newly prepared beds being dug along the western boundary.

4. Trust deed. The draft definition, mission and aims prepared by Rob Hicks were discussed and broadly accepted, subject to a few relatively minor changes. Rob will prepare a final version based on this feedback and will bring it to the next meeting in two weeks for signing by the trustees.

5. Distribution of produce. Lengthy discussion took place about ideas on what to do with the produce now being harvested (or soon to be). At least eight ideas were considered, both for short-term solutions and longer-term plans, and it was agreed that strategies need to be developed to make produce both (a) available to appropriate people and (b) capable of use for "marketing" purposes to raise awareness of the garden among the community. Ideas discussed included:
(a) Those who have worked on the garden must have first rights to take produce freely.
(b) Surplus should be offered firstly to seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands and for free distribution via the Red Cross shop.
(c) Other organisations such as churches and the night shelter could be approached to gauge need and interest.
(d) Some produce could be offered through the alternative TALENTS currency system.
(e) Stalls could be set up in town, perhaps at the Sunday Market, where produce could be given away as part of a promotional initiative to tell people about the garden and encourage them to take part.
(f) Focus on one person, family or group of families as major recipients.
(g) Generally, although freely giving produce away can produce some negative attitudes and scepticism among the community, it is better to give it away than see it rot in the ground.

6. Sign. It was agreed that a very high priority be placed on installing a sign so that people driving or walking by know what the area is being used for. Initially it needs only to provide the name, but the major sign needs to fit in with the broader design suggested by Rob H two months ago. Moved David and seconded Grant that Rob be authorised to get a quote for such an initial sign and to go ahead with its manufacture if under $250, otherwise to consult with the trustees before proceeding.

7. Planning. Further discussion took place around longer-term plans for the garden's design and layout. It was agreed that, although there should be scope for adding new beds as their need arose, certain permanent facilities such as sheds and a sandpit need to be placed in final positions so a site plan to this level of detail is needed soon. Also we discussed ideas for trees up to 4 metres high that could be planted in places along the boundaries. Some of the other ideas mentioned in discussion included building one garden plot as a "model garden" for householders to learn from, setting up educational areas, and planning for plant succession through a season.

Meeting summary:
[For trustees meeting, 22 December 2010]

1. Trust deed. The Mission and Aims were debated for some time and all people had the opportunity to suggest what these principles and guidelines should say. It was acknowledged that most trustees had a range of ideas on what should be the most important goals. Moved Ron and seconded Richie that Rob Hicks should take the submitted suggestions and tidy them up into a second draft of Mission and Aims. This will be circulated among trustees for final comment and confirmation into the Trust Deed at the next meeting.

2. Finances. The final invoices for materials purchased to date are with the Council. When they are all settled and no monies are receivable or payable, the balance in the bank account will become the starting balance for the trust. Until this is settled, no further purchases can be reimbursed.

3. Weed problem. The foot of the bed walls have been sprayed, and discussion began about spraying the pathways and around the bed area. This led to discussion about organic principles (never spray with herbicide) and alternative ways of keeping couch weeds at bay (there is no other way other than years of unattractive hard manual work). Most trustees expressed their opinions on the core issue, and in the end consensus was reached that despite the undesirability of it in principle, we need to do one further spraying of the bed surrounds (up to 2 metres) and cover with cardboard and sawdust as soon as the sawmill is back in business in mid-January. It is important that this plan is adhered to without delay, to avoid having to spray yet one further time. The consensus also was that for all future garden plots to be developed, time and effort will be taken to ensure soil preparation is fully organic (no spraying) and eventually capable of hand weeding.

4. Planning. Richie asked that all trustees prepare a list of what they would like to see the garden develop to and be used for in the next five and ten years. These lists to be either brought to the next meeting or circulated earlier so others can see beforehand, and to be used to develop a proper plan, budget and timetable into the future.

5. Harvesting produce. Food is now starting to be ready for harvesting and it was realised that no planning has yet been made as to how produce will be distributed, to whom, and by what mechanisms. For now, trustees and workers are invited to pick what they need that is ready, and next meeting is to discuss principles for produce distribution.

Meeting summary:
[For open meeting, 8 December 2010]

The main goal of the meeting was to elect trustees who would then finalise the trust document, and to appoint a works management team. The following were voted as trustees: Grant Douglas, Tara Forde, David Armstrong, Rob Hicks, Richie Atkins, Lisa Cahalane, Ellen Baldwin and Ron Sharp.

The following were elected as officials:
Chairman: Richie Atkins,
Secretary: David Armstrong,
Treasurer: Lisa Cahalane

Appointed as the works management team were Grant, Richie (co-ordinator), Ron and Ellen. Other trustees appointed for specialist duties included Tara (for social organising, public relations and getting people involved), David (for publishing information on websites), Rob Hicks (for the legal side of the trust formation and planning) and Rob Francis (for help with TDC liaison, documentation and funding applications) David to email the draft trust document (prepared by Rob) to all trustees for comment and listing mission and aims, so that the final document can be approved at the next meeting.

Rob Francis reported that there was about $1400 left in funds.

Discussion on where to place the service area and how to access it while keeping the Cool Store happy. Ron to talk with Cool Store about use of their driveway.

Options for taking water from the main pipe to the individual beds were discussed. The one chosen was to run the main on the ground along the back of the 5 beds and connect 16mm hose from it up through the end of the beds to T tape and sprinkler connections on the tops of the beds. Try to eventually bury as much of the main as possible to avoid spreading hot water.

Tara to approach the Family Service Centre and other children's organisations to see if they can be interested in being involved in planning and creating a children's play area.

Grant expressed concern that it has become crucial that the couch weeds be eradicated from around (and in) the plots. Despite significant misgivings, the trustees agreed that spraying with Roundup around the base of and between the beds is necessary for the project to have any hope of long-term success. When killed, the pathways to be covered with cardboard (sourced from the Warehouse) and a thick layer of sawdust (from the sawmill near the roundabout). The weeds within the beds to be hand weeded. This work is urgent, and Bob Cooke is to be asked by Rob Francis to do the spraying under supervision of Richie. This is to be a one-off practice, not a regular occurrence.

Rob Hicks's proposal for a "shop front" sign/noticeboard for the garden was accepted in principle, but shortage of funds means only the central section will be erected initially. Lisa will get more information on the cost of construction. The trust may apply to the Community Board for funds to develop or extend this signage.

Progress status:
[Posted 29 November 2010]

Water is now available at the plot ends via a large hose from a tap at the Cool Store next door, which has generously provided the facility as a community gesture, so now regular watering can be done at any time. It just needs some hose and tap fittings to make the water directly available at the plot ends, but for now there is a large container kept full for bucketing water to plants. Thanks also to Corrections for supervising the digging of the hose trench under the Cool Store drive and across to the plots.

PLUS! Most of the first five plots are now planted out. Have a look: it's really impressive. Thanks to the great work of the handful of regular workers on Sunday afternoons and some other times. It's really looking like a going concern now. There has also been good work done on cleaning up the surrounding areas from stones and remaining dirt heaps so it's even looking attractive! It would be great if some other people came to help out for a while to support the five or six regulars.

The two compost bins are partly constructed, and planning is under way for the shed and shelter areas and further growing areas. And we are now working towards formalising the project under a Charitable Trust entity.

To that end, please note in your calendar this important event and date: On Wednesday Dec 8th we will meet at the Community House at 7pm to elect trustees and form a proper management committee so we can start planning and starting medium term work under that structure. PLEASE TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS WHO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT AND COME ALONG YOURSELF.

Planning meeting report:
[Posted 25 November 2010]

The neighbouring Coolstore management and a friendly plumber have been very helpful in arranging for the pipes to be connected, so the water problem is largely sorted. The placement of the pipe's crossing from the Coolstore's tap across the service road is to be sorted this week and Corrections workers will dig the trench. The pipe will then run along the western fenceline.

Rob Hicks still recommends setting up under a Charitable Trust structure, and will draft a founding document to suit our goals and will circulate this for comment. He strongly recommended that the goals encompass future possible developments in terms of operational and land expansion and commercial activity.

It was decided to proceed with setting up an official governance and administration team. The next meeting (on December 8, 7.00pm) will be widely publicised and held at the Community House and will call for nominations and elect trustees and a proper committee, particularly including secretary and treasurer. The trust will need a legal address, and Grant proposed to use the Community House for that purpose. The trust will need to formalise land ownership/leasing with TDC, as well as an agreement over water use.

There is a need now to make a spatial plan for where beds, utilities and infrastructure will be sized and placed, so that all extra work currently being done by relatively isolated people can fit in with the ongoing development. Grant will sketch out a draft plan for discussion. On Sunday 28th at the working bee we will view the suggestions onsite and discuss ideas so it can be put into computer software for a permanent plan that can be publicised. The practical issues to work through will include the problems with weeds and therefore spraying, excavating, raised plots and/or importing topsoil.

Rob showed a draft design for a comprehensive sign which would include full details about current activities and short- and long-term plans for the site, with facilities to allow planning to take place on the board itself using Perspex coverings. The location to be decided at an onsite meeting, along with an attractive entrance way. Need to decide dimensions and subsequently costings. Lisa will again talk with people who could donate or subsidise materials and construction.

An advert for working bees will run in the Motueka & Golden Bay News until Christmas. David will make a flyer publicising the garden and the working bees to distribute to shops and other window displays.

It was agreed that the email system and phone links being used at present is adequate for keeping ourselves informed. Rob will set up a "Google sites" website to be used as a repository for draft and completed documents such as those he is working on, plus meeting minutes and notes, so we can all see these important data.

Planning meeting report:
[Posted 13 November 2010]

On Wednesday evening, Nov 10, eight met to continue formalising the planning and management stage. It was decided to begin work to register as a Charitable Trust, under the guidance and advice of Rob Hicks. To this end, it was decided to form an interim management group to oversee the appointment of initial trustees and to register the trust, then to formally appoint a management committee.

The interim committee is Ron Sharp, David Armstrong, Ellen Baldwin, Grant Douglas, Rob Hicks, and Lisa and Richie Cahalan. Among these, for now the following will work on specific tasks: Rob will guide the registration process and associated planning, Richie will act as "works manager" on site, David will chair meetings and write reports, manage the contact database and coordinate communications between interested people, and Grant willo advise on gardening methods, planting etc and ultimately education related to communal gardening.

So far about $3000 of the $5000 granted has been spent on building the first five beds and soil etc. Water has been offered by the neighbouring cool store and we will install some hoses and connectors to tap off their supply.

David will put together and maintain a definitive, up to date email group and we will all work to ensure the contact details of any other interested people are added. We considered having a Facebook page or using the existing one that Tara set up, but several of us are not Facebook users. However, this could be investigated further in due course. In the meantime, David will look at processes that will ensure every one of us gets all the information as it builds up, without getting TOO much of it in confusing chunks.

The policy on the long-term use of the area for communal and/or private use will be for the management committee and trustees to decide, but it was suggested that people wanting private allotments could easily be charged a quarterly fee ($25?) which would help the garden finances.

For now we will place a free advert in the Motueka & Golden Bay News stating that every Sunday from 1pm and during summer every Tuesday evening from 7pm will be working bee times for anyone, though people could work at other times. We will try to ensure initially one of the committee is present at these times to help inquiring newcomers, but it would be expected that in time this would become less important.

The garden needs a sign to tell interested and curious people what the plot is for. We will investigate getting a joinery firm to donate the construction of one (with acknowledgment of the gift on the sign) and signwriters will also be approached. Initially there will be a blackboard for simple notices such as when the next working bee is.

Planning meeting report by David Armstrong:
[Posted 27 October 2010]

On Monday evening, Oct 25, at the Community House five of us met to put in place steps needed to complete building the initial five beds and other basic facilities, ready to start the first plantings.

1. Completing the beds: We will certainly take up the offer from Corrections for PD workers to complete construction of the garden bed walls. First, however, we need to move more topsoil (available from a Kitakita Street section) onto the community garden site. This will need coordinated work for up to a day with a truck and front-end loader, and we will follow up suggestions as to who could be approached to provide vehicles and driver and when it could be done - hopefully within a week.

Once the piles of new topsoil are on site, the PD workers will be asked (after showing how it is done) to build each bed one at a time and we or they (hopefully with the help of a front-end loader) can fill each before the next one is erected. The fill/soil already on site will be used for a base layer, up to about 30cm in height, and new topsoil and compost/manure added on top.

[Note added Wednesday afternoon: part of this plan is now redundant as PD workers today built three further beds (only one more to do)]

2. Tools and a shed: Many tools have already been offered and it is important that we accept these offerings while they are "warm", so we need somewhere to store them. The smaller items will be stored at my place for a while, and we will enquire about a place to store larger items such as wheelbarrows. Grant will also look into asking for a donated shed with sponsorship branding on it.

3. Compost bins and materials: Building bins on site could be done easily using materials such as corrugated iron from the Recycling Centre and/or apple crates from the neighbouring coolstore. We will need to set aside an area where green waste can be dumped, but this would need to be controlled so the garden doesn't become a dumping ground for useless or even harmful material. Grant will approach gardening contractors to use the facility for dumping their useful waste materials.

4. Project management: Although we acknowledge the principle that the garden development should be open to all contributions, there is nevertheless a strong need to coordinate the major construction and day-by-day operation of the project. A planning team or committee is needed to make sure vital things happen in time and that all interested people are kept informed. In particular, we will need to work on our email list and have one person co-ordinate dates and milestones.

Another meeting will be held in two weeks - hopefully after the beds have been made - to complete the arrangements for construction work and, more important, to form a planning or management group and allocate tasks more formally. The date/time of the meeting will be informed to all, and it is time for everyone who has shown interest in either the planning or occasional gardening to be contacted and urged to attend. We will also seek formal information on what sort of legal entity the garden should sit under.

Comment by Rob Francis:
[Posted 20 October 2010]

- I talked with Bob C, and asked if he could top up the beds if we finish the structures, he is ok to do that.
- I have talked with Una Stephens of Community Corrections early on, she was waiting for us to contact them about tasks.
- I am ok with Corrections doing the beds, but did feel that a good push with volunteers early was going to help build our 'team' and show our real committment. I will contact Una Ron, to let her know that it is ok for the Corrections Crew to work on this TDC land.
- I feel that any work with Corrections or anybody else needs to be under our direction - Ian and Florian, are you able to instruct/set the Corrections crew in the right direction?
- I guess the horse poo went on in a rush of enthusiasm, maybe not the right thing, but does give us a bed to start planting in. Should this be on the agenda of the meeting, or is it sufficient that a smaller group make a decision and we plant this weekend?

Agenda for planning meeting: Raised beds, Planting plan, Legal entity (any progress Rob?), Promotion (ideas David, Tara?), Next steps.

Comment by Ron Sharp:
[Posted 18 October 2010]

Last Friday Keith Fry offered us lots of tools and we got an offer of free top-soil. On Saturday Ellen and I, with the ATET trailer, collected a trailer load of soil. Just as we were finishing unloading the trailer into the second bed, Darryn from the Periodic Detention Service came by offering us their services. They would be happy to continue building and filling the beds. Ellen and I would be available to meet the team initially to show them what's what. Would you drop the pegs into the PD Centre, Ian, and would someone call a meeting to discus a place for tools etc!

Was there any particular reason for putting all the horse manure on top of the first bed? And who's in charge of planning the plots planting? We have also had offers of strawberry and blackcurrant plants - where would they go?

Comment by Ian Tozer:
[Posted 2 October 2010]

I didn't see any [weeds] but you never know, luck of the draw for 1/2 price dirt. The compost is free, and garden grade I was assured.

Moving 45 cubic metres of dirt will be challenge enough with wheelbarrows and shovels. Unless someone has a small digger, the thought of mixing 24 cubic metres kind of leaves me cold.

Comment by Florian Pauls:
[Posted 1 October 2010]

Good on you Ian, that's sound fantastic. What a bargain. My advice for the filling of the beds would be to put most of the dirt maybe 75% in the beds and top it up with the compost mixed with the remaining 25% of dirt. But that's something we can talk about when we get there.

Comment by Grant Douglas:
[Posted 1 October 2010]

The soil sounds good. Is it free of such things as couch? The compost deal sounds good too, but I just wondered what the ingredients are, as if it is just composted bark then it is not so good to put in the soil unless we can also get a source of high nitrogen material.

Comment by Ian Tozer:
[Posted 1 October 2010]

A bit more progress.

Motueka Gravels Limited.
I spoke with Brian Roebuck, and he has come on board with an excellent offer - 35 cubic metres of dirt mixed with river silt delivered to the site for $20 per metre. $700 is an excellent deal. There are small pebbles and stones in the dirt, Brian has promised that if it dries out enough he will run it through his sieve to remove them, but looking at the dirt they are not dramatic in size or quantity anyway. Considering that sieved soil would normally cost $40 per cubic metre and the delivery would cost $200 for 35 metres, we are being offered dirt and silt mix for under half price.

Bark Processors.
Now here is a score. I explained what we are doing. For $200 they will deliver 12 cubic metres of compost to the site. That means we cover their transport costs, they are DONATING the compost. I have to call back early next week to tie up the details but that is a damn fine offer.

I feel that for both of them the least we can do is let them put signs up advertising their business and support, as well as get them mention in the local media.

This means that for the princely sum of $1,350 we can have five 15m x 1.4m x .4m raised beds built and ready for planting. And have everything we need onsite by next Friday / Saturday. My thoughts with the compost is to 1/2 fill the beds with dirt, layer of compost and top up with the rest of the dirt.

Comment by Ron Sharp:
[Posted 29 September 2010]

I'm all for the $420.00 purchase of the pegs, Ian and Co. Tara and I dropped a load of compost on site today. Ellen and I will be getting some horse manure tomorrow. We would also be happy to help with picking up pegs and/or roofing iron before Saturday. Let me know when suits. It would be good if you could get a load of top soil on site before the 10/10/10. Go Spring, Go!!

Comment by Ian Tozer:
[Posted 29 September 2010]

Just had a quote from ITM for the pegs, bundle of 500 for $420.00 including 15% GST. This will give us enough to belt them in now and replace in two years as well. All we need is somewhere to store the unused ones, which shouldn't be an issue.

The roof tiles have one lip bent to 90 degrees, this can be folded over further which will aleviate the sharp edge problem. If you want to go down this path we need to make a decision fairly smartly, as I will need to collect the pegs by Saturday midday, payment can be sorted next week.

Basically, $450.00 to get 5 raised beds 15m x 1.5m is fairly cheap, and if the pegs rot in two years, who cares, we will either be in a position with established beds to do something better, knock in replacement pegs, or the site will be deserted.

Comment by Tara Forde:
[Posted 28 September 2010]

Ron Sharp and I gathered up some compost from ATET, near the old community garden site. Ellen has been doing some good work gathering tools and materials for the garden. Ian's plan for the raised beds sounds pretty good. There are bags of leaves and mowed grass on site.

Outstanding issues:
- Further discussion on plan
- Our constitutional status (Deed of License has been signed)
- Soil testing
- Letter asking for support/materials listed

Also, if we are just going to leave materials on site, then maybe we should also be thinking about security, particularly given what Bob Cooke said in the Guardian last week.

So the Motueka Community Gardens are holding another working bee on Sunday 10th October (10/10/10) at 1pm. Other community gardens across the top of the south are having working bees, so it works in nicely. The event is being held on this day to encourage people to reduce their carbon emissions 10% during 2010. At the working bee, we aim to get the raised beds up and functional with some top soil. I am keen to have a chat about an entranceway as well. We still need materials to make top soil, any suggestions?

Comment by Grant Douglas:
[Posted 27 September 2010]

Your idea of the tiles sounds good. My only concern would be do they have sharp edged that people could hurt themselves on, and so we may have to put split irrigation pipe on the edges to prevent this.

Comment by Ian Tozer:
[Posted 25 September 2010]

Took a wander to the recycle centre yesterday, they have steel roofing tiles, approx 1.5 Metre long by 450 high. They are coated on one side with that normal pebble mix and are galvanised. Better still there is more than enough to make 4 or 5 raised beds.

Spoke to the people and they said they normally sell them for $1.00 each, but they liked the community garden concept so we can have the lot for $30.00. We can belt in 600mm x 50mm x 50mm boxing pegs (Placemakers @ $1.60 per unit) and place the tiles overlapping each other.

If people still want a high bed then the option is to pick up a number of doors from the recycling centre and nail the tiles on the inside before putting them together. This lot will take a bit more substantial wood to frame but nothing majorly expensive.

To me this appears to satisfy all of the requirements, being recycling, reusing etc, no leaching at all from the tiles, and the boxing pegs are untreated. It will give at least two years of service by which time the garden will be either humming along and ready for for the tiles to be replace, or fallen into ill repair and no one will be worried.

I can pick them up and drop them onsite next Saturday but will need to sort something out this week as far as the boxing pegs go if everyone is happy to go down this path.

We should be able to complete 5 raised beds along this line for under $1,000, leaving $4,000 in the bank.

Comment by Tomaash Cernik:
[Posted 30 August 2010]

Couch removal seems to be the task number one before any gardening starts. Using glyphosate products such as Roundup will definitely raise some opposition from the many organic-minded people in Motueka community. And fair enough. It is a toxic chemical and its effect on human and animal health is questionable. So is the residue level in the soil left after its application.

Here is some comprehensive study of this chemical herbicide: And here is what Wikipedia says about Roundup: Everyone who advocates use of Roundup is better to get informed about it and think about the children, the future generations.

Using non-chemical way of getting rid off couch grass would be environmental and the right thing to do. It would serve as a good example for starting gardeners and youth. It would show that it can be done without the use of chemicals as it has been done before Monsanto developed the glyphosate molecule in the 1970s. Only some 40 years ago! How long has the humanity been gardening?

Non-chemical control requires digging it up, weeding it later and heavily mulching it until all the couch dies up. It would however take some time and labour to do that before planting could start. It is worth giving it the time it needs. Some ideas on non-chemical control are shown here: and

Building raised beds could solve the issue if some thick layer of cardboard, newspaper, wool or old biodegradable carpet is used under those beds. The surrounding area would still have to be dug over and cleared from all the couch shoots to avoid contamination of the beds. Again using heavy mulch around would supress the new growth. There is be plenty of rejected wool around this area and that would be really good slowly breaking down mulching material. Could be covered with other materials such as bark, straw or sawdust to give it a better look. If you care about that.

It is not about organic or non-organic as something being 'organic' is a very new term in gardening. It is more about rediscovering the way it has been done in past before introduction of chemical herbicides and pesticides or finding a new way based on our knowledge of ecology and laws of nature. There is no need for chemicals in the garden once we understand the principles of nature. And where is the better opportunity to do that than in a community garden?

I reckon that non-chemical policy must be one of the key principles of any sustainable and educational community garden. That's about all I can add to the soup at this stage. Good on you everybody. Big ups for community gardens.

Organic gardener
PS: any spare land to plant an edible forest?

News item:
[Posted 29 August 2010]

(Following is an initial report re soil testing from Jenny Easton, of TDC)
I took two composite samples (each 8 sub samples) from the surface soil 0-5cm. I have asked for heavy metals for both and one additionally for organochlorine (pesticides). There was a small area of old sawdust but otherwise the top cover looked like clean imported weedy topsoil. The lab will take 10days to process the samples, and I will write up a short report.

Editor's Comment:
[Posted 25 August 2010]

A report of the discussions at the meeting held August 23rd can be seen here »

Comment by David Armstrong:
[Posted 27 August 2010]

It's been pleasing to see the amount of agreement so far among the members of the community garden group, but one issue has cropped up (pun unintended) already that has the potential to be divisive. So far there has been mutual respect on the various opinions, and I hope that continues, but the issue does need to be considered openly nonetheless.

I'm talking about the extent to which the gardens should be "organic". As in the wider community, there will be people who want to use the gardens who would want the whole area to be organic, others who would be quite happy to use sprays and perhaps soil chemicals which are considered not healthy in the long run, and yet others who are somewhere in the middle.

This issue will become important if and when the area opens up for individual allotments as well as the communal area; if one plot "owner" wants to use sprays but the neighbouring plot owner is dead against it. Discussion has already arisen about the use of Roundup to kill the couch weeds before the beds are created.

Solutions in the long term may include a set of basic rules that are reasonable to most people and not too dogmatic, that newcomers must agree to, and/or some "zoning" of the garden area whereby those who want to remain strictly organic can be well separated from those who have less concern in that respect.

I just hope that the main focus for the garden initiative is, first, to encourage people to garden and produce our/their own food, and second to make it as organic a process as possible; not the other way around.

Sure, some who believe strongly in organic principles may be put off the community garden idea if some non-organic elements are present, but they will probably have their own garden plot elsewhere anyhow. And there would be just as many people (and probably more, I think) who would be put off joining if the rules were so dogmatically strict that they feared doing the "wrong thing".

What do others think?

Comment by Tara Forde:
[Posted 19 August 2010]

This Monday (Aug 23rd) at 7pm the Community Garden group will get together at the Fire Station Hall. We will be discussing and debating the design of the garden. I have been reading a bit online recently about community gardens, and it seems highly important to devote enough time to do this. We need to get it right and work it out amongst ourselves. So please bring your ideas and enthusaism for how to make a community garden that you want to be a part of. Would be great, we will also confirm a day and time for the working bee. Please send me any other agenda items, and any apologies.

Comment by Tara Forde:
[Posted 14 August 2010]

This Monday (16th) we were going to have a meeting but quite a few of us are unavailable to come along. I propose that we postpone the meeting till Monday 23rd at 7pm. We still need to confirm the Fire Hall, but let's assume it is there for now unless I hear back from Ian that it is not.

Some decisions about funding need to be made immediately. Unless we register as an incorporated society or registered trust, it will limit our ability to apply for funding. Even applying through the Motueka Community Board. What I propose we do is apply for funding of $500 from the community board immediately, this needs to be done before the end of the month. And to consider applying in the next round of funding. eg. Community development fun ends 31st october and 30 th april Grants from rates end at the end of August each year, which is a very tight time frame Creative communities every 3 months.

I don't think lack of money is what is holding us up at the moment, so i think we should prioritise other things, such as establishing a date for the working bee. Do we want a weekend or a weekday? I suspect we want a weekend, and how does Saturday September 4th sound at 10am? Then we have Sunday in case it is raining? What do people think?

Comment by Rob Francis:
[Posted 6 August 2010]

Nice to hear from you Duncan and Anna. The proposed (although not certain) garden site is adjacent to an old rubbish tip (now the Skatepark) and dumped sawdust from an old sawmill (where there is now the Inlet Walkway). As far as can be ascertained the area designated is off to the side of both. It has also been tested some time ago and was deemed 'clean' at that point, however this can be done again if required.

As far as vandalism is concerned, I guess it is always a concern, however the Skatepark has been pretty vandal-free for some while now.

For those interested, we are having a get together on-site, this Sunday 8 August @ 1 pm. C U there?

Comment by Duncan Eddy:
[Posted 29 July 2010]

Great idea, fully support reestablishing a Motueka Community Garden. The economic, community, health and environmental benefits of such a good old fashioned project are obvious.

However, I am concerned about the proposed site. The area around the Rec Centre has been quite heavily contaminated due to past industrial uses, and it would be a shame to position such a healthy project in an unhealthy piece of land. It'd be useful to find out more about the proposed site, its past use, any remediations that have occurred, and its current level of toxicity.

Also, it seems quite likely that the place would be regularly vandalised by bored youth who congregate in the area. Perhaps a site that could be overlooked by supportive neighbours would be more apt.

Comment by David Armstrong:
[Posted 29 July 2010]

This (previous comment) is something else for the steering committee and supporters to think about and research - searching round for information on the many community gardens already running in NZ. They probably come in all shapes and sizes and operational models and policies. Googling "community gardens in nz" is a great starting point, and check out this website for an idea of the possible scope of ideas!

Comment by Anna:
[Posted 29 July 2010]

What a fantastic idea this is! Lyttelton in Christchurch has a rather successful community garden. (website). Project Lyttelton (an impressive community organisation) may have some wisdom to share there. The University of Canterbury's sustainability group, Kakariki, also runs a successful one for students (website). Exciting stuff!

July 28th, 2010
Initiated by David Armstrong (based on notes made at the first public meeting)

If you're new to this discussion, you may first want to look at the news item that triggered it, here »

One outcome of the meeting, which decided to go ahead with planning for a community garden, was that Motueka Online would host this forum which would enable the project updates to be made public, up to date and widely available, and also to enable any people to express opinions and give suggestions on the policies, planning and operations. If you want to contribute or comment in any way, please email your contribution here. [If this link doesn't work, use this form instead]

Here are some of the comments that were registered at the first meeting. Most had widespread agreement, although some were clearly more important than others (ie, some needed attention from the start, others may develop in time).

Why have a community garden?
- It's a good social hub for the community.
- A place to run gardening courses.
- It provides cheaper vegetables, saving money.
- It would be used by people who haven't got a house of their own, or no space for a garden.
- It would bring nutrition and exercise back to the community.
- It would bring back the handing on of inter-generational experience and skills (from parents/grandparents to children).
- There is lots of knowledge to pass on from retired people who live in or move into the area.
- It promotes our green image and organic concepts, making them less scary.
- It would inspire people to garden more.
- It could encourage "green commerce".
- It could be used by people who recieve a "green prescription" by their doctor.
- Its promotion would help in the work of community organisations such as budgeting advice and foodbanks.
- It would help promote community and cooperative spirit.

What would be its uses?
- It would need to be broken down into areas for different purposes, rather than just one big block.
- Its use could also help teach food preparation such as pickling, with commercial kitchens nearby (Rec Centre, hospital).
- It could involve making its own compost, perhaps with occasional use of a hired chipper.
- It will be well used if it is a beautiful and pleasant place to be.

Who would use it?
- School groups.
- Community groups.
- Financially disadvantaged people needing to save money.
- Keen gardeners.
- No problem expected from Skate Park users if they are involved in the process.
- Possible use of other organisations such as DoC, Corrections workers, CWI and/or Keep Motueka Beautiful.

How would it be managed?
- An elected committee with a constitution is needed.
- Initially a steering committee, whose first job would be to sort out what sort of legal entity the group would work under.
- The decisions on what is planted where etc must be from the ground up, not the top down, to ensure community engagement.
- Meetings on operatins and planning of how the garden will develop need to decide based on consensus.
- It would need good on-site dignage to explain what it's all about.
- There would appear to be a need for one or more coordinators to look after day to day operations, tools, etc.

>> Email a comment on this topic, to be added to the page. [If this link doesn't work, use this form instead]