Teaching garden outgrows needs
A popular community garden is destined for the compost heap.
But a new garden will sprout elsewhere in the region, Auckland Council staff say.
The teaching garden at Papatoetoe's Stadium Reserve has flourished for many years, one of seven throughout South Auckland providing free plots to locals.
The scheme aims to teach people basic horticultural skills that can be used at home.
But Stadium Reserve is earmarked for development which means the garden is set to be demolished.
A council spokesman says it's part of a wider development plan for council-owned land in the area.
"It was always the intention that the gardens were there as a temporary measure," he says.
"We are in the process of assessing another site where this activity can continue."
Keen gardener Joe Iosefo says it's vitally important the plots are replaced.
He has been volunteering at community gardens throughout the region for years and says they provide valuable opportunities to many people.
"Some of them come here because they like the company. It exposes them to different cultures," he says.
Mr Iosefo has used the gardens as a teaching experience for people who were "heading the wrong way" and needed guidance.
"They know what to do now when they have their own families."
The council provides more than $105,000 a year to keep the gardens running, which covers tools, seeds and payment for mentors.
Staff are looking to bring external funding to the programme so more gardens can be set up, the spokesman says.
"All present plots are occupied and we have others that are waiting to join."