Here are some photos of my garden. I’ve got an enormous crop of passionfruit and an endless supply of kale. I have resorted to drying all the kale and crushing it into powder and adding to smoothies. I must say I found a good recipe for vegan cheese and kale chips - they were quite tasty – but I’ve eaten them to death.
In response to complaints that neglected fruit trees on some Te Moana Road properties were attracting rodents, our group developed a ‘Fruit Rescue’ service. The aim was to distribute unwanted fruit and nuts throughout our community. We were not so much driven by charity as by waste reduction and lowering food miles. ‘Donors’ would be given preserves or tree-pruning in exchange for produce.
As we began to publicise the service, we discovered a food rescue charity called Community Fruit. Community Fruit is based is Wellington, but takes donations and gleans unwanted produce from backyards and orchards in Kāpiti. Most of what is rescued is distributed through Kaibosh or local foodbanks.
It didn’t make sense for two groups to be operating in the same space. We had a series of discussions about working together. In the end, we (at Waimeha Lagoon) agreed to help promote Community Fruit and provide volunteers to harvest unwanted produce – as required – in our area. Last weekend we were picking in Peka Peka. We have distributed flyers, and are working with local mowing contractors to target households with neglected trees. We are also in touch with the Council’s Environmental Health officers who are keen to engage with residents and Community Fruit if similar complaints arise in the future.
On Saturday we held a Street Party on Ames Street. Ames Street is actually a long street with ~ 80 houses. The plan was for the whole street, not just our Green Street team, to get together. We were aware than one of the outcomes from the Christchurch Quakes was that community was found to be one of the most important factors for resilience. So we really wanted everyone on the street to meet so we can band together if we have a Civil Defence Emergency too. It really was a fantastic night! Continue reading
During the Green Street competition we decided to take up the Council’s Water Retrofit Service Grant scheme. The Council will pay up to $5,000 for the cost of adding water saving schemes to your house. You then pay this back in your rates over 10 years, so only needing to pay ~$5 extra a month. It’s a very easy form to complete with little more than your name, address, property value and the quotes from the Suppliers attached.
We used Paul from Tanks2You (http://www.tanks2you.co.nz/) to provide our tanks, pump and to install them around our house. They’re fully installed now and Paul has made sure that every drop of water that falls onto our house roof and garage roof can be captured to be used to water our garden. Continue reading
(Posted on behalf of Julie)
This been a great time in the garden, there’s been a lot happening in the year. I planted sweet peas to bring in new friends and I think it worked. I’ve made lots of new friends through the greenest st competition; we have worked together on a number of projects.
The children’s community garden has been planted with three crops now. The beetroot are long eaten as are radish, we have a great store of garlic, lettuces consumed, sweet peas finished. We still have crops of strawberries, alpine too (a white strawberry), they are eaten daily. The neighbourhood children come and check out the garden, harvest the produce, grapes, peas, strawberries, zucchini etc…They exclaim….wow….if they haven’t been for a bit. One keen 11year old boy Dean came and asked for seeds yesterday to start a garden at home…..I sent him away with 12 different seeds of choice, and will help him establish his own garden if he so desires.
During the holidays the ‘food foresters’ come, my grandson and his mates, they enjoy the children’s garden, forage, mulch, plant, eat, run skip and hop through, water too. This is a little group of four Phoenix, Keish, Ngha and Tyler 5yr-8yrs, they often stay the night, we have BBQs, fires on the beach, bike rides, foraging around the neighbourhood and swims at the river, sea and pool. These are special times for me. We are developing a food forest at 42 Queens Rd. Continue reading
This year at the Sustainable Home & Garden Show we want to build an amazing Lego® eco-town and we’d love to have your help (and that of your children)!
There’s a range of categories to spark your imagination and some helpful guidelines for eco-building, so go to http://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/ecotownbuildingcomp to register your interest and claim a plot of land! Registrations close 5pm on 7 March so get in quick.
Prizes will be awarded for the best models, thanks to Toyworld Coastlands.
Disclaimer: “LEGO®is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this competition”.
At the start of the Green Street competition one of the Judges, Brenda Vale (MA DipArch & PhD), gave a talk explaining how the ecological footprint is calculated, it’s impact globally and ideas how to reduce it. Brenda has created a Ration Card concept. The idea is you try and reduce the ‘red’ (see picture), aiming to only use the green allocated hectares. My understanding is that the ‘green’ allocation is the fair global share.
Our major ecological footprint impacts were:(1) Regular International travel back to the UK for holidays,
(2) Our two pet dogs. A large breed dog increases your footprint by 1.10 ha/annum and a small breed dog 0.42 ha/annum. As our dogs are small breed that is a 0.84 ha increase per year.
(3) Although we used numerous Eco/Green products this still meant they were processed products, a large percentage were imported and used quite a bit of non-compostable packaging.
What we did to reduce our footprint:
(1) In previous years we have returned to the UK for our holidays. When back in the UK we have then spent the holiday driving around the country to visit friends and family. This year we decided to take our holiday in a nice hotel in Wellington. So, we cut out all International and Domestic flights and reduced our car miles drastically. The only issue with this was that the TePapa Museum can only entertain a 4 year old for so long and city centre hotels are not really kid friendly.
(2) Our domestic car use was also increasing our footprint. So we combined the hours our son spent at Kindy into a three day, instead of part days scattered across the week, so reducing the need to drive to Kindy two days a week (it’s unfortunately not possible to use public transport to the Kindy).
(3) Our neighbour helped us fix up our push bikes and we bought a 2nd hand trail-gator on TradeMe (to attach my son’s bike to ours) so that we could use bikes on our car free days.
(4) During the Green Street competition we have only purchased 2nd-hand appliances (e.g. weigh scales and blender from TradeMe) or repaired existing appliances (e.g. dishwasher and washing machine).
(5) One of Brenda’s suggestions was to work part-time to reduce life stress and so reduce the drain on health care. Rob now works a 4 day week and is enjoying spending his 5th day with our son and weeding our additional veggie beds .
(6) Looking at Benda’s ration card (picture) changes to our food appears to be a ‘quick win’. We now eat less meat, buying and cooking meat once a week and then eating a bit each day throughout the week. We have increased our home produced vegetables too as this reduces cropland needed.
(7) We’ve been reducing our consumerism by upcycling as much as possible. We’ve been sharing our ideas on the web for others to take advantage of on Face Book (https://www.facebook.com/WasteNotUpcycling) .
(8) We reduced our power usage by installing two washing lines so we don’t need to use the electric clothes Dryer any longer.
(9) Luckily we already have a smaller than NZ average sized house so there’s less space to heat. Also, coming from the UK we automatically insulated the whole house (internal and external walls), so it does not lose much of the sun’s heat we gain through the windows during the day.
(10) Finally, Rob challenged himself to buy all my Christmas gifts by not leaving the village – and managed it!
‘People here are land-rich and time-poor.’
So the saying goes at Waikanae Beach…
Some of our group’s actions (Fruit Rescue, community orchard) exploit the land-rich aspect; but what can we do about time deficiency?
Here’s one idea: ride a bike!
Rain or shine, I cycle to work every morning. It takes about 25 minutes to reach the Paraparaumu Civic Centre from Tutere Street. The journey by car (via SH1) is only slightly faster – provided there’s a convenient parking space upon arrival.
For more or less the same time investment, cycling provides most of the exercise I need (time consuming alternative: gym), a wind down period between work and home (time consuming alternative: television), and, more recently, a chance to socialise and discuss what’s happening in the neighbourhood.
By sharing the commute with other cyclists, I’ve been able to meet neighbours without having to alter my schedule. Visiting a neighbour can be one of those things we always plan to do before we run out of time. It’s also one of those things that we’re glad to have done after the event.
Cycling to work is a simple way to enjoy stronger neighbourly relations while saving time.
Granted, I travel mostly on cycle paths – which are more conducive to conversation – but the same could be achieved, to a lesser extent, by walking or carpooling.
Originally posted on simoncalcinai:
Evidently, our group’s regular meetings were not regular enough, and we’ve started spending Friday afternoons together at Waimea Café.
The Friday Happy Hour has been happening for some time now, but it’s taken me a while to get along! I went for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was impressed by the turnout. Our Greenest Neighbourhood group was well represented.
Julie’s bottle-saving was a talking point, and she managed to rope in a number of volunteers to help construct a cob storage shed – making use of the bottles in its walls. Somebody always knows someone, and we’ve be able to expand our network.
The Café does a lot for our community and seems to have an interest in sustainable practices. It feels good to support a worthy local business. And, in keeping with our principles, the beer of choice is the Café’s own ‘Sacred Water’ or…
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Here’s one for all you crafters, campers and slow-cooking fans out there: the Wonderbag. It works on the same principles as a haybox, insulating hot food to keep it cooking. Results look similar to a slow cooker or solar cooker but you don’t need an ongoing energy source over the cooking period.
The company has a great vision too: they’ve developed the Wonderbag to ease the social, environmental and economic impacts of traditional cooking methods in developing countries. Here in NZ, we can benefit by reducing the carbon emitted through energy use (and the peace of mind that comes from not leaving an electrical appliance on while we sleep or are out). And every one sold sees another donated to a household in a developing country.
Great idea for camping this summer or stews this winter….
Images from Wonderbag