City Garden on Council's Doorstep

26 January 2012

Wellington's second 'pop-up garden' sprouts into life in Civic Square tomorrow, Friday (27 January) - a collaboration between Wellington City Council and Massey University.

The project is a response to the City Council's 'Towards 2040: Smart Capital' strategy, which defines the key directions for Wellington's future.

The aim is to test design strategies for urban agriculture and to get urbanites thinking about where and how their food gets produced.

Project leader Amanda Yates says the plan is to build on the success of last year's pop-up garden in Kilbirnie.

"We want to cultivate the idea of growing vegetables anywhere, and that includes in the heart of the city. Growing food in urban communities has many benefits including cheap and available food on-hand and a more socially connected, healthy community."

The pop-up gardens temporarily turn unused space into community gardens. There will be six planter boxes of organic and heritage variety fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, tomatoes, peas, rocket and silverbeet in Civic Square.

The Council's Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says pop-up gardens are another way to make more socially connected communities. "They're a fantastic idea. I'm very keen to have a lot more edible planting, especially heritage variety fruit and vegetables. We do have the space in Wellington's urban centre, so I hope we'll be seeing more of these community gardens in the future."

Amanda says there are risks to planting a garden in such a high profile, busy area, but says it is all part of the research.

"We want to see how people react to it. We want people to help themselves to the fruit and veges and they're more than welcome to get involved and tend the plants"

There will be free public workshops on subjects like affordable gardening, mid-summer gardening and kids' gardening. You can find out more on their blog site:

Kilbirnie Pop-up Garden website

"Make sure to check it out," says Amanda.

"There you'll find up-to-date information about how the project is going and also details of the workshops."

The City pop-up garden remains in Civic Square until Sunday 19 February. Then the plants and boxes will be donated to a local cafe to go towards a rooftop garden.