Organic NZ Community Garden of the Year

Presented by Chantal Organics

Voting is open now.

This award recognises the most popular community garden in Aotearoa!

We want to highlight the beautiful productive māra and community gardens supporting food security and sharing knowledge around the country. 

The Finalists

Announced on 3 April 2023

Aunty’s Garden, Waipatu Marae, Hastings
Our nominators said: “This Maara Kai is a garden for all of the community. It is deeply grounded in whakapapa, wairua, aroha, mana, te ao turoa, and is run on organic principles to preserve the mauri of the whenua. Aunty believes that no one should go hungry. It is koha only – you give what you can afford even if it is in kind mahi.

Many wananga are held here at the maara to educate/pass on valuable knowledge and support whanau to to grow their own food. You can guarantee that there is always something to harvest through the whole year. Any surplus is delivered to kaumatua, families in need or given to the food bank. Aunty has been deservedly recognised for her service to the community both locally and nationally.”

Forrest Hill Community Garden (Grow Forrest Hill), Auckland
Our nominators said: “Our newly formed community garden is such an incredible and inspiring space. So much mahi from the community has gone into creating a beautiful productive space where people can meet and garden together. The compost system is open to the public so our food scraps can go back to the earth. The best thing about the garden is the people. Such a great community of people who are always pitching in and helping, happy to see one another. The garden will continue to flourish and become an important feature of the neighbourhood.

Innermost Community Gardens, Wellington
Our nominators said: “Innermost Community Gardens is an organic permaculture haven located in the heart of Wellington City, operated entirely by volunteers. It has earned a reputation for effectively connecting people to nature and local food. The Gardens enable people to work with the soil and explore their connection with the earth on their own terms. Innermost Community Gardens is also renowned for being a hub of innovation and education. A range of initiatives include the village garden research project on the value of community gardens, community composting hub and backyard garden workshops on topics like gourmet fungi, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in urban gardening. Innermost hosts community dinners every quarter, which foster opportunities for people to come together, share their stories, ideas and enjoy food.”

Kaiapoi Community Gardens, Canterbury
Our nominators said: “The garden began in 2010 and became a haven as many of us maneuvered our way around earthquake issues. We run workshops throughout the year on how to prepare the soil, grow seeds, plant seedlings, care for plants over their growing, harvest and feeding the soil ready for another crop in the rotation. I love this garden because it is such a beautiful, peaceful space where members of the community come to connect over growing food. It is wholly organic and they make terrific compost giving them terrific yields and wonderful sized vegetables/produce. It is staffed by “the grey haired brigade” who go to amazing lengths despite their ages to keep this large garden under control and constantly productive in every way. Nothing is wasted. What isn’t used by the volunteers then goes to making preserves and pickles and jams. While also donating a lot of produce to the local elderly people. We also run the Garden to Table programme with the Kaiapoi Borough School and it is great to see children growing and harvesting their own food. We have around 12 regular volunteers and regularly donate to local food groups, helping to increase local food resilience.”

Kelmarna Gardens, Auckland
Our nominators said: “Kelmarna Gardens provide an excellent opportunity to connect with nature, food system and local people through in-person, experience-based programme and opportunities.

Richmond Community Garden, Christchurch
Our nominators said: “We are trying to create an ecosystem where fruit trees create a top layer that protects a second layer of berries, leafy greens, and perennial herbs underneath. Under those we have a layer of ground cover that stops the weeds from coming up. We proudly collaborate with Para Kore, Repair Riverlution, Foraging Corner, Horticulture Society, We are Richmond, Avebury House, Avon Atakaro, Envirohub and more to bring awesome events/workshops and projects to our neighborhood and community.”

Roimata Food Commons, Christchurch
Our nominators said: “They are more than just a community garden. It’s happening in a Council park and the community are taking part. The food is free to harvest and Council have been convinced to halt spraying and reduce mowing in the park (imagine this across a whole city!). They also hold workshops, working bees and hosts a weekly pataka kai with leftover foods from organic stalls at the local market.”

Shetland Street Community Gardens, Dunedin
Our nominators said: “We harvest food, fruit and herbs. We have planted natives along many sites along the Kaikorai Stream and other sites. We also planted orchards and helped establish Marakai on the adjacent Araiteuru Marae. The gardens and conservation plant nursery were founded about 25 years ago. A beautiful place to be!”

Taupo Community Gardens
Our nominators said: ” The work our coordinator, gardeners and other volunteers do on-site and within the community is incredible! Beyond the amazing produce that is grown here, they have established long-lasting relationships with other community groups in the District, getting people involved in a variety of activities to learn and teach about sustainable living practices. Ka mau the wehi!”

Triangle Park Teaching Garden, Auckland
Our nominators said: “The garden is very active and well organised, with lots of volunteers. It’s extremely productive, even in winter. The veges are usually very healthy. They welcome new people and teach garden skills as required. Also they cook a shared lunch once a week and supply veges for free community dinners. They compost waste and collect rainwater to water the garden. The garden is part of a well used park and next door to a community centre, with mutual benefits to both.”

Waitaki Community Gardens, Oamaru
Our nominators said: “Its community classroom program is extensive and stimulates the community to grow more food, make things themselves, and connect more with nature. Of course the gardens are a great demonstration of vegetable growing and tree systems where anyone from the community can come and learn through participation.”

The criteria

Nominations for this category have to be:

  • A community garden! Whether based in your neighbourhood, marae, school, or your local park, nominations have to be for a specific community garden that is managed and shared by the community. 
  • Not-for-profit. This award will go to a voluntary scheme where food is provided for free.
  • Spray-free! We’d like all nominations to be gardens using organic principles such as composting, spray free and nature-friendly.

How to Vote

Follow this link to register your vote:

Please note: we require your email to validate your vote and protect against bots. We will contact you when the winners are announced.

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