28 February 2017

Kawerau’s Urban Food Forest (KUFF) project launched in February and will become a source of fresh produce for everyone.

The project will see thousands of fruit and nut trees, berries and herbs planted in the Monika Lanham Reserve. People can help themselves to the produce at no charge. A nursery and glasshouse will be built and workshops held on seed gathering and sowing, and a community garden planted to provide fresh vegetables year-round.

“The long-term goal is to plant more fruit, berry and nut trees around all the reserves in Kawerau,” KUFF project co-ordinator Hannah Edwardson says. “We want to enable Kawerau locals to help themselves to fresh food from the reserve just as they would from a supermarket.”

The project is largely thanks to funding support from Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Environmental Enhancement Fund (EEF), which contributed $20,000.

“We really appreciate the regional council’s support,” Hannah says. “It’s a fantastic community initiative and we couldn’t do it without the generosity of our partners. We’re really excited the project is fully under way.”

Regional council EEF co-ordinator Eddie Sykes says the Kawerau Urban Food Forest project is a great example of a community-driven idea that will enrich people’s lives and increase their sense of wellbeing.

“Our vision is to raise environmental awareness and use the enthusiasm and skills of the community. Enabling communities such as Kawerau to share fresh, healthy food is a way of bringing people together and building stronger neighbourhood networks.

“EEF – and the regional council - is delighted to support this project. We hope other Bay of Plenty towns will be inspired to follow Kawerau’s example.”

The KUFF launch went really well, with 50 people attending and volunteering to help, Hannah says.

“Everyone was excited by the project. There’s a job for everyone somewhere, whether it’s digging a hole or helping out in the nursery, and we hope this project will involve every person in Kawerau.”