A new community garden is helping feed thousands of people in south Auckland every week.
Takanini Sikh Temple has opened up 11 acres of land to grow fresh fruit and vegetables.
The area, on Takanini School Rd, is already being used for walking tracks and sports but the latest initiative will help provide meals to around 3000 people who visit the temple on a weekly basis.
The plan is to have up to 400 fruit trees such as lemons, limes, oranges, guava, and a variety of nuts and vegetables grown and maintained by temple members.
The Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura team and the Old School Reserve Teaching Gardens are working with the temple to teach food production skills as part of the project.
Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand spokesperson Daljit Singh says many of the volunteers come from traditional Indian farming communities but there has been a need to access local knowledge.This includes information on gardening to local climate and soil conditions.
The project is promoting healthy eating, sustainability and is bringing the whole community together , Singh says.
Food can then be distributed to struggling families and the homeless. It is expected there will be plenty of seeds for families to transfer into their home gardens also.
Sustainability is an important aspect to the garden project which uses solar power and uses its own water resource through the installation of a bore, giving the temple the ability to house and feed thousands of people during a time of civil emergency.
“The huge sports field at the back will have access for the local community to provide temporary accommodation and also a chapati machine which can make thousands of chapati in an hour,” Singh says.
Alliance Community Initiative Trust chief executive Rachel Enosa, who runs Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, says the project is helping develop sustainable food production.
It marks the beginning of other projects with the temple including food rescue and sharing knowledge for a “holistic approach to health”, she says.
The community garden was officially opened last Friday with guests including Prime Minister Bill English.