Little Plants And Small Feet
Early every Saturday morning, winter and summer, retirees Margaret and Paul van der Loeff set up their plant stall at the Whangarei Growers Market. And after nine years of sales, they've almost reached their goal of raising enough money to fund the building of one house by the Habitat for Humanity organisation. Habitat builds houses round the world largely using donated materials and volunteer labour, including the labour of those who're going to live in them.
Margaret and Paul grow all their plants from seeds or cuttings given by friends. The pathways and decks round their house overflow with baby plants in little pots. "You need small feet to walk round here", says Margaret.
Each Friday evening Paul loads about a hundred and thirty plants in his little van, and next morning the keen customers come bright and early to their stall … by flashlight in the winter.
"So far we've sold ten thousand plants, and raised 37-thousand dollars", says Paul. By the end of the year we'll have reached our goal of 40-thousand. That may not be quite enough actually because land and building materials have gone up. But we'll both be seventy five and we'll have had enough", he thinks.
David Steemson spends a morning with them at the Whangarei growers market and admires their home-based plant nursery.