Just a couple of kilometres from Queen Street is Kelmarna Organic City Farm in Auckland’s Grey Lynn. This community garden grows vegetables, grazes cows and raises chickens - all within sight of the Skytower.
Kelmarna Community Garden Trust chairperson Mary Paul takes Justin Gregory on a tour of the gardens to talk about their past and some possible futures.
The farm was established in 1981 and was an early adopter of organic farming principles.
The Kelmarna Community Garden Trust now operates the council-owned property and for twenty years has subleased it to a mental health and disabilities provider. Approximately fifty clients and volunteers regularly use the garden for therapeutic purposes and for growing their own food. Clients maintain their own private patches of garden and cook meals made entirely from their own veggies in an onsite kitchen in a converted cowshed.
For a small koha, members of the public can pick a basket full of veggies and herbs while following the nature trail that meanders through the property.
But all that might be coming to an end. The tenant has decided not to renew their lease and without them, the Trust can’t afford to pay even the nominal rent charged by the council. So they’re on the hunt for someone to take over.