Organic living on the rise

By Zaskiya Lesa For Te Waha Nui ,

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“GROW YOUR OWN FOOD”: FoodisFree Waitakare committee member Ross Scholes stands by his homegrown taro and banana patch.

“GROW YOUR OWN FOOD”: FoodisFree Waitakare committee member Ross Scholes stands by his homegrown taro and banana patch. (Photo: Zaskiya Lesa)

An inaugural free event held in Glen Eden has cultivated new interest in the organic food movement occurring worldwide.

FoodisFree is an American-based organisation that has inspired a West Auckland group to recognise the health and financial risks Kiwis endure as a result of poor dietary habits.

The FoodisFree NZ event saw various workshops promote the benefits of growing your own food as well as an opportunity for community members to meet and share their expertise, opinions, and crops.

Free seeds, seedlings, and vegetable soups were also distributed to the 600 attendees at the March 19.

FoodisFree Waitakere committee member, Ross Scholes, said this is a step along the way to influence families to grow their own food.

 “People need to understand what food has become,” Mr Scholes said.

 “Once upon a time, people used to go out and pick the garden, eat the fruit, but now the only place they could feed themselves is in the supermarket.”

Mr Scholes, a “post-war boomer”, grew up during a time when gardening was common in his family and he would go out and do the digging as the eldest son.

Today, he continues to garden at home tending to a variety of crops and seedlings which he and his family enjoy.

FoodisFree Waitakere organiser, Sarah James, said that people today are not as invested in gardening because of a lack of time, knowledge and skills.

The workshops aimed to teach attendees the basics of gardening and cooking healthier meals rather than resorting to takeaways.

 “It seems a lot of times it’s easier to just go to get takeaways, but in the long run the costs are huge,” said Ms James.

 “You can actually grow food for really cheap. All you need is a seed, a patch of land and some water, and we just wanted to promote that culture of sharing.”

Mother of two, Kris Tucker, attended the event and enjoyed the workshop learning the important uses and benefits of herbs, herbal teas, and how to make eco-friendly herbicides.

Balancing life as a working mum, Miss Tucker said it is not finding the time to garden, but making the time that can also be enjoyable for the kids.

 “Just do it,” she said. “Getting given the seedlings meant that I had to come home and plant them, spend an hour in my garden and so it’s an experience learning the different smells and what they’re used for.”

The family enjoys their mandarin tree when it is in season, but with bags being $6 a kilo, growing their own is cheaper and more convenient.

The next FoodisFree event is planned for October.

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