The dedicated sustainable food team from Transition Town Ōtaki have opened their popular seasonal surplus stall outside the Memorial Hall again.
This year marks the 10th anniversary since the group first provided the service for the local community. The stall encourages locals to bring along fruit, vegetables – even herbs and eggs – to be sold on their behalf.
The stall, which opens every Thursday at 11am, buys produce at 80 percent of the sale price. Anything left over is donated to Cobbler’s lunch at the Memorial Hall supper room, and other needy local community groups.
TTO trustee Hannelore Wagner-Nicholls says the group wants to encourage more people to grow their own vegetables at home.
“Anyone can do it and gardens can be any size,” she says. “It’s one of our core values, to be a sustainable and resistant community. We want our community to learn how to garden. I want to get our seniors involved, so they can share their skills and knowledge with younger folk.
“We’re delighted that the council is now regularly planting vegetables in the public gardens next to the library and hall. This shows us how community gardens are so important, and we have our council gardener for Ōtaki, Derek, to thank for these ones here.”
Hanna said they had tried to establish a community vegetable garden some time ago, but it had never taken off.
“We tried to get one off the ground at the college, but that didn’t really work. It would be wonderful if we could establish a garden that everyone can contribute to and benefit from. People realise the value of community projects like this, and the exchanges they provide.”
Transition Towns hosted a community food forum in July to discuss the issues around access to healthy nutritious food. Attending were Lucy Tahere from the foodbank, Steven Cole of New World and Kiwa Raureti from the Ōtaki Medical Centre.
“Our community realises there’s a problem with our food security and getting back to more healthy living and healthy foods,” Hanna says. “We’re working on a food map that will record what we have locally and what is grown. I encourage anyone interested to get in touch and get involved in the local food group.”
Last year, Transition Town ran a forum to promote a zero waste community for Ōtaki, and is hopeful an initiative, with the support of council, can be launched in 2020.
“Unfortunately, it’s taking too much time. As a community, we have on-going problems and management of waste, and all working together. Our aim is to connect and educate, with the goal to inspire further development around the reuse, recycle and reduce approach to waste.”