Millbrook Edible Garden
What do you do with a plot of fertile, community-owned alluvial soil? Grow food of course! The seeds of the Millbrook Edible Garden (MEG) were sown in Spring 2008, when Green Jon, the (former) Project Twin Streams Community Coordinator for Oratia Stream set about creating a community-driven garden on the floodplains of Oratia Stream in Sunnyvale.
The vision for the garden was both a meeting place, somewhere locals can come together to connect with the land and each other, and a space where the community can learn about healthy eating and gardening.
Rennaissance of Growing
The garden is situated on Millbrook Esplanade, a large area that has been rejuvenated by stream cleanups and planting days. The much-used Project Twin Streams walk and cycleway winds its way past the garden and fat wood pigeons and tui keep watch from neighbouring trees.
Sustainability was and still is the key message here, and the garden is built from recycled materials (many of them salvaged during stream cleanups) and watered using a bicycle pump. What was once a menace has been made useful, and weeds like bamboo feature highly as construction materials.
Each of the 18 raised plots is planted and cared for by a local family, flat or community group interested in growing food for themselves. These include two Pacific Island alternative education organisations, a Muslim support group, an inclusive service for people with mild intellectual disabilities, a Catholic missionary group and children from a local after-school programme.
Outside the (bamboo!) fence is a free-for-all garden which locals are welcome to harvest.
The gardens aim to empower locals with knowledge on organic best practices as well as encouraging recycling and composting through regular workshops. The current PTS Community Coordinator for Oratia Tina Samuelu oversees the management of the garden and brings together the group of willing volunteers who meet every Saturday morning at the gardens.
Since the gardens were established they have expanded to include a new area where experienced gardeners can have a larger plot. There is now a shipping container on site, in which groups can store tools, their worm farm and fertiliser. The MEG team have now extended their garden to include some bigger market garden-style plots for more experienced gardeners.
The Millbrook Edible Garden has become much more than the place where gardeners share their knowledge and nature shares its bounty that Green Jon had imagined. It has built relationships and a community around it.
The Millbrook Edible Garden Community meet regularly at 100 Millbrook Rd, Millbrook Esplanade, Sunnyvale. If you’re interested in joining in please email Tina on email@example.com or phone 022 105 4038. Everyone is welcome! As well as gardening the group enjoy a weekly Thursday Night Video Night. If you’re interested in attending you can subscribe to the email mailing list to keep up to date with the latest showing.