Urban forest comes to life

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WORK: Dylan Edwardson, Trish Brady and Myles Brown create layers of grass, cardboard and mulch to prepare the food forest at Monika Lanham Reserve. Photo Haylee King D5636-15

GARDENS are shaping up as Kawerau Urban Food Forest comes to life at Monika Lanham Reserve.

Footpaths are being dug out and filled with pumice and clay and gardens are being shaped and prepared for planting the first layer of the food forest.

A group of people braved the cool winter air and warmed up with some digging, flipping, pouring and raking at the reserve on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

Project co-ordinator Hannah Edwardson said it was the first time the team had worked at the site; an exciting time for them in preparation for planting. The idea was pitched to the Kawerau District Council in August last year, which leased the two-hectares of recreational reserve to the project and donated compost, mulch and expert knowledge.

The project’s aim is to establish a forest of food-bearing trees and shrubs, a community garden and nursery to provide food all year round.

Food forest designer Trish Brady said the garden would depict two hands coming together with an olive tree in the centre representing peace.

She said she spent a year walking around the reserve mentally envisioning what the final product would look like, becoming familiar with the contour, sunshine, shade and shape of the land.

Seeing the land transform into the final product was phenomenal for her and the food forest team.

“It’s mind blowing that this time last year we were still doodling and drawing sketches.

“It’s phenomenal how it’s all come together.”

Ms Brady said this was a community project and the hands-on work had just begun.

At the site last Thursday, the group were beginning a layering process where the trees could be planted.

They were flipping grass and laying cardboard and mulch on top.

The first layer planting s scheduled for Monday, July 24.

haylee.king@whakatanebeacon.co.nz

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