Ōtākaro Orchard Phase 1 - Build an edible park for Christchurch! By Chloe Waretini

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About Ōtākaro Orchard Phase 1 - Build an edible park for Christchurch!

Project 2017-02-13 15:23:00 +1300

Introducing the Ōtākaro Orchard Project

The Ōtākaro Orchard  will be New Zealand's first urban food hub. Located in the heart of the Avon River Precinct between the Town Hall and Margaret Mahy Playground, it will be a place that locals and visitors alike can gain knowledge and inspiration about sustainable food systems in practice. 

The project has three parts :

  1. An Edible Park featuring a heritage orchard, multiple herb and vegetable beds showcasing a variety of growing techniques, space for educational workshops and an amphitheatre for public gatherings and events.

  2. A Local Food Information Centre and Cafe housed in what we envision will be Christchurch's most regenerative building.

  3. A Dome which will serve as an indoor food production and classroom space.


The Ōtākaro Orchard  will serve as the welcoming front door to the local food resilience movement with has been gaining momentum since the earthquakes shook our city apart. In that time we realised that supermarkets carry only 3 days worth of food and if our supply chains get disrupted we go hungry. Community gardens became important places of refuge and connection as well as sources of fresh food.


In the past few years the Food Resilience Network has been holding a collective vision of Christchurch as an 'Edible Garden City'. A city where every citizen has access to the fresh and healthy food they need to live well. Research has shown that up to 40% of Cantabrians are food insecure which means they can struggle to have access to the food they need. Reimagining our urban green spaces as edible ones is a key way we can start to change this. We hope that by establishing the Ōtākaro Orchard as proof that these kinds of spaces can work, that many more can become possible in the city.

 

Location of Ōtākaro Orchard

Location of Ōtākaro Orchard site

And now, we're so excited to announce that exactly a year since the former Prime Minister John Key launched this project we're almost ready to start construction on Phase 1 - The Edible Park!

With your help, in the coming months we'll be transforming this rubbly lot (previously the offices of Ernst and Young) into an urban oasis that produces tonnes of food each year for our community.

Imagine wandering along to this site at lunchtime and picking ingredients to put in your sandwich, coming by on the weekend to learn the art of growing tomatoes, relaxing in our amphitheatre in the evening watching a local musician play, equally serenaded by the smells drifting over from the herb garden...

More about the project :

 

Latest design for the garden - download at https://goo.gl/RDy8iG

Latest design drawings of park - download PDF from https://goo.gl/RDy8iG

Progress so far

In 2015, almost 200 people from over 30 groups and organisations worked together to craft the proposal to CERA to develop this site.

 

In the past year since this proposal was approved we’ve built an amazing team to bring this project to fruition. Each Wednesday landscape and building architects, engineers, permaculturists, composting toilet fanatics, project managers, construction companies and community activists come together to progress this vision.

 

Thanks to the generosity of Goom Landscapes we now have a buildable design for the park and City Care JFC JV have signed on as our construction partner running the project on a cost reimbursement basis. We’re approaching suppliers of the landscaping materials to come on board as in-kind sponsors.

 

So far the project has received over $300,000 in public donations and grant funding. Now we’re firming up final details and getting ready to start construction of the first phase!

 

 

Names of early donors to the project, painted on the historic shed on site.

Here's where you come in

In the interests of transparency, we’re sharing our live budget for the landscaping with you in this Google Spreadsheet.

Whenever we get a finalised quote or sign a sponsorship deal with a supplier it will be updated. The goal is to get the total as low as possible by the end of the campaign with our crowd contributing both money, materials and connections.

The lower we can get the number, the faster we will be able to build the park. And the less we cut into the funding we've already received for the project, the faster we will be able to build the building later in the year too.

If we reach the $60k target we’ll be able to get the first stage of the landscaping done pronto - excavating the site, putting in the pathways, soil and planting. We want to get lots of food growing on this site as soon as possible!

If we reach $80k then we’ll also be able to press go on constructing our amphitheatre - the focal point of the whole design. If we get even more than that then we’ll be able to add all sorts of beautiful finishing touches like the curving metal trellis around the top of the amphitheatre and bench seating around the park.

Thank you so much for your support.

Feel free to ask questions or contact us at any time - we would love to hear from you!

Project Coordinator Chloe Waretini - chloe.waretini@enspiral.com / 027 696 4968

Comments

The People Behind Ōtākaro Orchard Phase 1 - Build an edible park for Christchurch!

Chloeportrait Chloe Waretini Project admin

I'm passionate about creating urban spaces which regenerate our connection to the natural environment and our local community. I believe that for our cities to be vibrant places then citizens need to be creatively involved in making them. I moved to Christchurch from Auckland in 2014 because of the unique opportunity the quakes created to build a city that is serving the 21st Century needs of humans and the earth and the Ōtākaro Orchard project reperesents this at a deep level. I'm so proud to be leading this community-building effort and can't wait to see it built and being enjoyed by the people of Christchurch.

Updates

    FOMO alert - INCREDIBLE new reward on offer from Eaton Drink Co.!

    01:45PM Fri 24/02/17 on Ōtākaro Orchard Phase 1 - Build an edible park for Christchurch!

    One of the things I love most about this project is how many people and businesses we come across who really understand what we're aiming to create and give generously to the cause. One of these magical people who has come on board this week is Nikki Collins from Eaton Drink Co. - a catering company famous for their dinner parties, commitment to fresh, sustainable produce, and incredible cocktails matched to the food they create.

    Eaton Drink Co. are now boosting our crowdfunding efforts with an incredible reward - a home dinner party for 8 people (valued at $900!). When I asked Nikki what had inspired her to get involved in the Ōtākaro Orchard, this is what she said :

    "At Eaton Drink Co. we want to be involved with the Otakaro Orchard to not only further our sustainable path, but to help change peoples perception of food - to teach them that there is much more to food than what is on the plate in front of them, and that everyone should be able to access fresh fruit and vegetables regardless of their circumstances. There is thought, planning, design and people planting and harvesting the products they are eating, and that they need to be prepared with respect, and to ensure the whole product is used where ever possible, avoiding waste.

    In this process we have built our own gardens, hot house and chicken coop to supply ourselves with a range of herbs, flowers, eggs, fruits and vegetables to use for our in home dining menus and small dinner events.

    Our vision is to be able to one day soon fully rely on our own gardens to provide the majority of our own produce, but in the catering industry with events of 150-350 people attending there is not always enough notice or space in the current gardens to grow our own products, nor grow the vast variety of plants we would like to use. Until then we will continue to support local, to visit our suppliers and to keep sourcing new suppliers who are growing new varieties and planting in unique suburban areas rather than buying from supermarket chains.

    We would love to see more and more people sharing from their gardens, not only with friends and family, but with neighbors and local cafes, restaurants and catering companies ensuring nothing is wasted. The garden is a place to connect and learn, these things along with fresh healthy food should be readily accessible in a central “edible garden” for those who don’t have the money, space nor time to plant and grow their own produce."

    Thank you so much for your generosity Nikki and Toby! 

    For those gourmet folk out there, I seriously suggest that you book this one in quickly before it goes! 

    If you've got something you would like to offer as a reward for this campaign, don't hesitate to get in touch with us chloe@enspiral.com <3

    Comment on this update:

    Remembering 22 February 2011 - the history of our site

    01:12PM Fri 24/02/17 on Ōtākaro Orchard Phase 1 - Build an edible park for Christchurch!

    On Wednesday I went along to the Memorial Service at the new Earthquake Memorial on Oxford Terrace. Feb 22 is always an emotional day for me as I connect back to the tragedy that created the space for this project in Christchurch. 

    As someone who has never experienced Christchurch before the quakes (the first time I saw the city was December 2013), it's easy for me to embrace the opportunity to create something exciting and better here while forgetting the biggest reason why that is so important.

    It feels important to me to build back the best city we can possibly collectively dream of because it's the only thing that can bring the slightest possible positive meaning to the immense tragedy this city has faced. It's the best way we can honour those who are no longer with us, and importantly those who are still here. 

    The Ōtākaro Orchard project is a ridiculously ambitious vision for a small community org to pull off. It's the only anchor project which is operated in this way rather than being funded and directed by the government or other large corporates. It's not easy, but it's important for community to be part of this rebuild, creating spaces that embody the values we hold. 

    What used to be on our site

    Our site used to be occupied by Ernst and Young House - the offices of a large multi-national consulting group. The building took up almost all of the site and was demolished in 2014.

    Now our site is part of the Avon River Precinct open space network and accordingly the park and landscaping will take up the majority of the site, with the building just over 10% of the area.

     

       

    The other significant part of the history of our site is in what happened next door. The Pyne Gould Corporation (PGC) building to the east of our site pancaked and killed 18 people.

    In our design we've been sensitive to honouring the passing on that site, and creating clear boundaries between that memorial site and the new life and vibrancy of what will be happening on ours. We hope that those who were impacted by what happened in the PGC building will enjoy visiting the Ōtākaro Orchard.

    Dedications to the new Christchurch - honouring what has passed

    On Wednesday, I and a few others were moved to make pledges that included a dedication to what has passed in what we are now creating. It's so important to me that Christchurch people want this project in the centre city, that it is serving them. If this resonates with you then even a small pledge to have your name on the project is hugely valuable. If you have ideas for how the past can be further honoured in the project then feel free to email me chloe@enspiral.com.

    Nga mihi nui

    Chloe Waretini, Project Coordinator

     

     

    Comment on this update:

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      “Amazing idea. The food there is lovely. We should all know how to grow fruit & veg. Good luck for the project now and in the future”

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      “Thank you Otakaro Orchard! the Edible Bouquets were perfect thank you gifts at the school gardening hui.”

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