So, I am looking for a little help. Those that know me will know I am a huge fan of community empowerment. Communities taking charge of their destiny, with organisations like the Far North District Council coming alongside to support.
A few months back, I decided I needed to do some doing and support a couple of projects personally (i.e. not ‘council’ projects). The main drivers were to do something that helps grow community spirit. I also wanted to look back at the end of the year and feel like I had actually achieved something that I could physically see. So, I put the call out for community ideas to support. I received about 95 individual ideas – very encouraging! It was then the hard task of choosing one (there was some criteria, including being able to achieve the goal this year.) The outcome was that three were chosen.
Two of the projects involve fruit. I am currently supporting Danielle Dawson in Kerikeri who is keen to take the rejected fruit from commercial orchards and get this distributed into our schools. I really love this idea for two reasons. First, it will help address the wastage of good fruit that is not ‘sellable/exportable’. Two, it promotes healthy minds and healthy bodies, by providing young people, whose families are on tight budgets, with nutrients and energy to help them get through the day. Initial investigations are progressing well and we hope to see some action within the next few months.
The second project is planting fruit trees and vines in public places. This idea was suggested by Chrystal Popata from Kaitaia. Many of us remember as children being able to pick fruit along the side of the road as we were heading to school. Or, in my case, riding over Constitution Hill in Russell, to pick grapes growing wild on the side of the road. It was quite the hike!
The aim of ‘People Eat Fresh’ is to reintroduce this concept in strategic locations across the Far North. And this is where I need some help. Firstly, we will need communities/people to identify where they might like some trees planted. I’m keen to be a little strategic on this one, because to manage it going forward we need to ensure the trees are in appropriate places and not scattered all over the place. Secondly, we need volunteers to help plant them, and thirdly (and quite importantly) people to look after them as they grow and hopefully prosper. I am thinking there will be retired people, schools and hopefully some organisations that work in this field that are open to taking this on.
Oh and I am looking to raise some cash to help pay for the trees… If you have ideas, locations, offers of help, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts. I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty, alongside our communities, on this one.