Urban farm to yield first harvest

Inner-city green space proves practicality

Last updated 09:54 18/12/2013
Dean Kozanic

GREEN FINGERS: Chef Alex Davies and Festa director Jessica Halliday check out what needs harvesting.

Dean Kozanic
RECYCLE: Cafe staff from C1 contribute scraps for the compost.

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Christchurch urban farming enthusiasts will prove the practicality of inner-city green spaces when they eat their first harvest this Saturday.

Agropolis Urban Farm was set up on a vacant demolition site near Poplar Lane in October. It borders the vacant Twisted Hop building and has a view of C1 Espresso on High St.

The farm is a collaboration between Festa, Garden City 2.0, A Local Food Project, Plant Gang and green-fingered volunteers.

A Local Food Project founder, Alex Davies, said the garden had gone from strength to strength. The raised beds were made from pallets and three months later are bursting with salad greens, buckwheat and edible flowers.

"We're trying to get more people in touch with where their food comes from," Davies said. "Instead of just having a green space in the city, we're actually using it for something."

The garden sits on a site formerly occupied by apartments. Agropolis has an access agreement from the building's body corporate until March, but hope the lease will be extended.

Ideally, as resources and volunteer numbers grow, the garden will eventually cover the whole site with portable garden beds for short-notice relocation. At the moment, it is only six large beds.

Davies said the garden would feed a lot of volunteers now but eventually would pay for itself by allowing herbs and greens to be sold to local businesses.

"The more we can extend and get people into it, the better. It's really good because more people will realise what can grow right on their doorstep."

Agropolis relies on a roster of volunteers to keep the beds watered and weeded and cared for.

The team is also in the process of building a garden shed from four types of mud. The structure is almost complete and volunteers can pitch in to finish it on Saturday morning.

Agropolis also runs a composting scheme, thanks to scrap donations from nearby C1 Espresso.

Cafe staff pop over to Agropolis and empty buckets of orange peels and coffee for composting.

On Saturday, the group will run a morning of workshops open to anyone interested - seed raising, composting and shed building. At midday, the volunteers and workshop learners will down tools and enjoy a giant salad harvested from the gardens.

Everyone is asked to bring a plate of food for a communal shared meal. Plates are provided but it is bring your own cutlery and seating.

Find Agropolis by looking toward the Twisted Hop building from C1 Espresso, cnr Tuam and High streets.

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