By SHELLEY TOPP
The Kaiapoi Food Forest was almost empty a year ago, with just a few trees scattered around the former red-zoned land in Cass Street.
“It was a blank palette,” recalls Brent Cairns, one of the food forest trustees who wanted to create something special for the community on the land.
Last Sunday, the trustees held an anniversary community picnic to celebrate what has been achieved in a year.
The land is now a vibrant, colourful garden, a fun food forest brimming with trees, shrubs and vegetable plants, more than 800 of them donated by the community.
“Huge thanks to all of the residents and families from far and wide who have donated trees and plants and time,” Brent says.
Garden beds have been created, water barrels have been painted, and a curved seat has been installed with a solar panel to charge mobile phones. A fruit and vegetable stand has also been created, a playhouse installed, and there are plans for more seating.
Although the food forest contains mainly trees, shrubs and plants producing food, it does have some flowering native trees such as kowhai and kaka beak and a magnificent magnolia tree. “Food for the soul,” is what trustee Gordyn Hamblyn calls them.
The food forest is not just about providing food to eat, he said. “It is about providing food for the soul also.”
He was pleased with the large turnout on Sunday for the picnic.
“It is good to see so many families, and even dogs, here today. It was perfect timing with such a beautiful day and so many of the fruit trees in bloom.”
In keeping with the community spirit of the day, Kaiapoi’s CBK Craft Bar and Kitchen provided free barbecue food and the Turkish Kebab restaurant in Kaiapoi provided free turkish delight.