Funding for Project Gro is now closed until 1 April 2017 when we welcome further applications for the Spring / Summer gardening season. Many thanks for all the applications received so far and happy gardening everyone.


Project Gro was first launched in 1984 by then patron, Sir Dove-Myer Robinson who said “If mankind is to achieve optimum health he must consume healthy food grown in a healthy environment.”

Many members and readers will remember that at the time Project Gro’s emphasis was on ‘Giving to Research in Organics’ (GRO). Members and the public gave generously during the 80’s and 90’s to the Project Gro fund to support the growth of the Biological Husbandry Unit at Lincoln College, which was established with the support of Soil & Health in 1977. Project Gro also enabled Soil & Health to set up an Advisory Service in Canterbury, Hawkes Bay and Auckland, to employ an Education Officer and assist other organic programmes, such as the work at the Bay of Plenty Polytech growing organic vegetables and kiwifruit.

Project Gro has more recently been dormant, but is now being given a new lease of life to assist with the growth of organic gardening and education, which reflects the resurgence of gardening and the need for better health in our communities. In Auckland alone there are now over 90 community gardens.

The fund will be used to support community groups, maraes and schools starting-up and maintaining organic gardens, to create organic gardening resources and teach organic principles for health of people and planet. Garden gurus can provide workshops on wormfarming, composting and bokashi making, lunar gardening, sheet mulching, seasonal vegetables, making your own insecticides, beneficial insects in the garden, companion planting, intercropping and crop rotation.

We give $500 to each applicant to achieve this end which also includes a free years subscription to Organic NZ – NZ’s leading magazine on organic gardening

Group gardening initiatives are especially beneficial to those experiencing financial hardship and poverty alleviated by self reliance. Growing and eating healthy, fresh organic food, being able to destress and participate in physical exercise improves health outcomes for the community and for those socially marganalised it gives them valuable work skills, instills a sense of pride (especially for at risk youth) in their work and community and builds networks and friendships within the community and with other communities offering the same.

Project Gro in RangioraSoil & Health wants Project Gro to be a living example of the Association’s motto: Healthy Soil – Healthy Food – Healthy People. This work will also help fulfill the Association’s vision of an organic nation by 2020.

Project Gro works collaboratively with other organisations to achieve this maxim including Gardens4Health, Enviroschools and Organic Garden City Trust Canterbury. We also have affiliations with all organic certifying bodies BioGro, Demeter, Assure Quality and Organic Farm and OANZ – Organics Aotearoa as well as organisations concerned with the safety of our food such as GE Free New Zealand, Safe Food, Pesticide Action Network, the Awareness Party, Green Party, Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

To receive a Project Gro Application Form – email or phone 09 4194536

Community Gardens

In recent times there has been a resurgence in gardening and community gardens are increasing at a dramatic rate. In Auckland alone as of December 2012 there are over 90 community gardens. These gardens provide people with healthy, safe food that is often organic and/or spray free which improves health outcomes for communities and relieves financial hardship. They also provide people with valuable employment skills, foster a sense of pride for participants, provide exercise and relaxation, free food and provide an opportunity for people to develop friendships with other members of their community and between communities.

Soil & Health – Organic NZ work with various community organizations to ensure that community gardens are supported financially and otherwise such as Gardens for Health, the Poverty Action Alliance, District Health Boards and Operation Green Thumb.
 
Click to view a list of community gardens in NZ.
 

Project Gro updates

Project Gro 2015 – COMMUNITY GARDEN – OPUNAKE HIGH SCHOOL
|

Thanks to the generous donations of Soil & Health members and supporters, the Project Gro fund has helped organic gardens in schools and communities around New Zealand. Our project is based in Opunake, Taranaki. Project Gro funds have meant we … Read More

Project Gro 2015 – TERRACE END PLAYCENTRE – PALMERSTON NORTH
|

Below are some photos of our Tamariki (children) and Larina planting our new fruit trees and some peas. We already had a Lemon tree but through Project Gro we have since been able to purchase a dual Apple tree, Grape … Read More

Project Gro 2015 – TEN ORGANIC FOOD GARDENS – TARANAKI
|

In the past few years we have been working with whanau in Taranaki to establish Maara Kai at schools, Kohanga reo, marae and community gardens. Working closely with Hive Taranaki a local education provider for sustainability taught us that gardens … Read More

Project Gro 2015 – ORMISTON PRIMARY SCHOOL
|

We used the Project Gro funds to put in raised beds and get our Community Garden off the ground. Here is a photo of the project and we also have a video of the learners building it.

Project Gro 2015 – BANK STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN, WHANGAREI
|

Soil & Health’s Project Gro funding enabled us to hook up a rainwater collection system to water the garden. We have turned a derelict block into a functioning garden, supplying food for us as well as for insects and the … Read More

Project Gro 2015 – ST JOSEPH’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN RANGIORA
|

Our project was to erect six raised-bed planter boxes in the school grounds. Students had shown a keen interest in gardening and had a vegetable plot for several years in the backyard of the presbytery next door to the school. … Read More

Project Gro 2015 – DELTA COMMUNITY TRUST
|

Thank you for your 2014 grant of $450, plus subscription to your magazine. This has enabled the construction of 4 transportable compost bins. As you can see from the photo these are in active use in our garden and have … Read More