Chch may become edible Garden City

23:44, Jul 28 2014
Christchurch food forest
FOOD FOREST: Dr Matt Morris, Alan Leckie, former councillor Aaron Keown and Tony Moore discuss scout out a public garden for potential edible plantings.

Christchurch could become the best edible Garden City in the world, the Food Resilience Network says.

It is backing Christchurch City Council's move to allow fruit and nut trees to be planted on publicly owned land but is keen to push the idea further.

Dr Matt Morris, from the Christchurch Food Resilience Network, told the council's environment committee this morning that Christchurch had an unprecedented opportunity to redefine the Garden City by getting some urban agriculture in the 400-hectare residential red zone and retrofitting the inner city with food-growing spaces.

"These kinds of initiatives will help people reconnect with the earth in a positive way,'' Morris said.

Cities across New Zealand and internationally were growing food resilience projects and Christchurch could lead the way to become the best edible Garden City in the world.

"We want to publicly endorse the council's vision for a food forest across the city. We want to ask that edible varieties be considered in new parks and green spaces and ask for help in brokering access to public spaces,'' Morris said.


Deputy mayor Vicki Buck and Cr Ali Jones have been working behind the scenes on a plan that would allow people to plant fruit trees in city council-owned parks.

The idea was raised last year by the Canterbury District Health Board, which suggested in a submission on the council's draft three-year plan that the council should use some of the parks it owns to grow fruit and vegetables.

Public health physician Dr Alistair Humphrey told the council at the time that using civic land to grow vegetables and fruit would be one way for the council to improve people's access to healthy food.

Council parks operations manager Ross Campbell told the environment committee that staff had already been out identifying parks where fruit trees could be planted. Work was also being done on developing a food resilience policy action plan for greater Christchurch.

Campbell said he saw the council's role as a facilitator and believed that if Christchurch was to become an edible city the initiatives needed to be community led and community driven.

The environment committee voted unanimously to recommend the council "enthusiastically support'' food forests and other edible plantings around Christchurch. It also unanimously voted that council-owned land where the public can plant and tend their own fruit and nut trees should be made available. The produce from those trees would be freely available to anyone.

It also wants any restrictive rules and barriers to such plantings replaced, and a new framework instilled that makes it easy for people to use public land to grow their own food.

The Press