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Helping hand...Gore Baptist Church hapori hauora co- ordinator Trudy White with the first fruits of the newly established com munity garden which are available free of charge to the community in an open street pantry. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

Community garden ready in time for Christmas

The spirit of Christmas is well and truly alive in the Gore Baptist Church – the church has set up a community garden and an open street pantry.

Church hapori hauora co-ordinator Trudy White said the garden, which was planted in spring, was set up after consultation with church members.

The idea of the garden was a common thread running through the consultation.

The pataka kai or open street pantry is an off-shoot of the garden and enables the church to give the produce to the community, and residents contribute their surplus goods.

Gardeners gather on Saturday mornings at 10am to weed, plant and mix with others.

“We have a cup of tea and cake,” Mrs White said.

Gardeners will tend the garden from spring to autumn.

A variety of vegetables are flourishing, including carrots, lettuce, beetroot, parsnips, beans, rhubarb, courgettes, radishes and spinach.

These vegetables will mature as the growing season progresses.

The idea of growing vegetables and setting up a pataka kai came from the Maori philosophy of nobody going without.

“We just wanted to do something in the community,” Mrs White said.

Not only could people take produce grown in the garden from the pataka kai but they could also contribute by putting produce in the stall.

The garden project aimed to connect and build relationships with the community and help people learn new skills.

Baptist church pastor Brent Davie said the complementary ventures presented great opportunities for the church to give to the community and help people who otherwise might be without.

The pataka kai and volunteering at the garden also provided a chance for others to contribute as well, he said.

Mr Davie urged people to come along to help at the garden on Saturday mornings.

The initiatives had been run successfully in other centres, he said.