Elza van Boxel, co-ordinator at Seeds to Feeds
The soil is local, of course, but so too is the compost.
Local hands have planted the seeds, tended and nurtured the crops.
When the produce is ready – nutritious and ripe – local cooks will lovingly transform it into a community feast.
And as for who will be doing the eating?
“We want it all to be as local as possible,” says Elza van Boxel, Seeds to Feeds festival co-ordinator.
“We want people from the area to be the ones coming along to taste the produce and meet some of their neighbours .”
If it all sounds like a whole lot of local, that’s exactly the point of Seeds to Feeds.
The new festival, supported by Wellington City Council and coinciding with Local Food Week, spans the summer growing season, culminating in a week of community feasts that showcase local food.
Local teams in six suburbs across Wellington will cook and host a meal, made from food grown, caught, foraged, baked or brewed in their suburb.
This year those suburbs are Mt Victoria, Vogelmorn, Newtown, Miramar, Houghton Valley and Berhampore, with the ‘feeds’ taking place from 17-22 March.
The Mt Victoria, Newtown and Miramar events are already sold out.
Since their inception, the events have evolved, with each feed taking on the characteristics of the people involved, Elza says.
“I’ve had people say, all the events are so different. Well yeah, that’s because all the communities are so wonderfully different.”
So what will the feasts look like?
For a start, diners will be encouraged to mix and mingle as they eat, with opportunities to move seats or use conversation cards as the meal progresses.
Chefs from local eateries will be in charge of the menus, working with traditional Kiwi crops and produce, as well as in some cases lesser-known foraged food such as tree strawberries, kawakawa and poroporo.
For the Miramar event, Double Vision brewery will also be creating a special beer.
“At each event we’ll get the cooks/chefs to stand up, and the gardeners to talk about how they are involved in that particular meal, taking the eaters on a journey from garden to their plate,” Elza says.
When it comes to the bill, the feasts operate on a “pay what you’re able” system.
“For some people that might be $5, for others it could be $50,” Elsa says.
Berhampore resident Caleb Hulme-Moir, who looks after the Wharepouri St community garden, says he is loving the “adventure” of Seeds to Feeds.
“We’ve started two new vegetables patches in Berhampore, and I have met so many wonderful people in my neighbourhood keen on growing food, collaborating, and creating an amazing experience for others.”
For Elza, the Seeds to Feeds feasts add to the richness of Wellington’s foody scene.
“There’s lots of cool foodie stuff in Wellington on a commercial level, but not celebrated at a grassroots level. This is what Seeds to Feeds is all about.”
Tickets for Seeds to Feeds events are available now at www.seedstofeeds.nz.