Public food forest being created at Clendon Shopping Centre

Inviting people to a community orchard planting in south Auckland are, from left, Healthy Families Manukau and ...
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Inviting people to a community orchard planting in south Auckland are, from left, Healthy Families Manukau and Manurewa-Papakura coach Tracey Walker, Clendon resident Cindy Haa, Clendon Cash King owner Nick Finestone, and Talking Trash Manurewa wastewise facilitator Melissa Atama.

Green-fingered volunteers are needed to help beautify a south Auckland suburb.

A public food forest and vegetable garden are being created in Clendon to transform the suburb's open spaces into vibrant, health-promoting environments.

The initiative is part of the Clendon Pride Project, run by Talking Trash Manurewa wastewise facilitator Melissa Atama.

She started the project to inspire people to help stop the littering, vandalism and general anti-social activity plaguing her local shops.

It began with a community clean-up of Clendon Shopping Centre on May 27.

Now Atama and other volunteers are creating a fruit orchard and vegetable beds at the centre.

The orchard is supported by Healthy Families Manukau and Manurewa-Papakura

It will also become a teaching space for waste minimisation, composting and container gardening workshops for the public.

Local resident Cindy Haa, who works at a south Auckland food bank, describes the initiative as "awesome".

"There are lots of people here who are hungry, or aren't able to afford fresh fruit and vegetables.

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"Our community, especially our kids, will be able to help themselves to healthy kai (food).

"It's something we as a community can own and look after and will continue to serve us for years to come."

Atama says the pride project is about addressing the community's needs and wants.

"There are lots of people passionate about Clendon and together we can make a difference.

"This community orchard is a positive starting point.

"Urban design can have a great influence in supporting and encouraging vibrancy, community pride and healthier lifestyle choices."

The Manurewa Lions Club is donating fruit trees to the orchard as well as vegetables and materials for garden beds.

Store owners at the shopping centre are providing land for planting while Awanui Landscaping has supplied a free plan for the required work.

Local business owners will serve as guardians of the garden and residents are volunteering their time for planting.

People are welcome to go along and take part in the land-clearing and planting which is happening outside the Work and Income office at Clendon Shopping Centre from 9am on July 20 and 21.

 - Stuff

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