Since the earthquakes shook the city apart, the local food resilience movement in Christchurch has been gathering momentum. In the event of supply chains becoming disrupted, supermarkets carry only three days worth of food – so community gardens become more important than ever. And in a time when up to 40% of Cantabrians struggle to have access to the food they need, community gardens become a necessity.

    Enter the Ōtakarō Orchard Project.

    The project has three parts: an edible park, a local food information centre and cafe, and a dome to serve as an indoor food production and education space. The team behind Ōtakarō Orchard want to create New Zealand’s first urban food hub – an oasis in the city producing tonnes of food each year for their community. But they need your help to do it!

    Since 2015 the project has received over $300,000 in public donations and grant funding, but they need an extra $60k to get the first stage of the landscaping done. In return, they’re offering everything from a vegetable bouquet to a tree named after you! But in case you wanted to find out a little more before you got pledging, we got in touch with Chloe, the project coordinator:

    How are you finding the campaign so far?

    love being able to share this project I’m so passionate about with our community so that’s been a joyous process! We’ve had a really great reception so far with lots of people excited about the project and members of the business community coming on board to offer more rewards and in-kind support for the construction of the park. So although our rate of pledges will need to pick up in the coming weeks, we’re feeling really optimistic we’ll reach target.

    What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

    We’ll be releasing more exciting rewards and also video clips of people from Christchurch and beyond telling us why they’re excited about the Orchard. Then I think we’ll also have a great wrap party!

    Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

    The thing that’s going to make this campaign a success is if we can reach the people who want to take the higher rewards – naming planters ($5000), trees ($1000) and bricks ($250). This is important for meeting our funding goal, but also in the park feeling community-owned once it is built. We want as many names on it as possible! So if you know a person, group or business that might like to make a donation at this level then please phone or write to them to tell them about this opportunity! Many thanks in advance.

    To find out more about the Ōtakarō Orchard Project and get a tree named after you, check out their campaign page right here!


    1. Hi this is fantastic idea! Go Christchurch! One questions – how exactly will the food be distributed to the community? Can anyone just come in and get their greens for their salad any day everyday? Or is this a garden that is there to look at and not to eat? 🙂

      1. Hey Emma,

        We’re pretty sure it’s a come along and eat sort of scenario, but we’ll ask Chloe to respond too 🙂


    2. Hi Emma – there will be no fences on this site or any other barriers to anyone coming and grabbing produce to eat at any time. There will be signs on vege beds and fruit trees saying when they are ready to harvest (so we don’t waste any of this deliciousness) and encouraging people to take what they need and leave lots more for others. Some produce will be used in the cafe once that is built and more might be sold directly to the public if we end up with a surplus! Plus of course the volunteers who work the garden will take home a share after working bees. Thanks for your enthusiasm about this project – we’re hoping it will be replicated in lots of other places!

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