Situated along Riverbank Road in New Lynn is a flourishing garden dedicated to growing food and sharing knowledge and skills about the environment.
Hope Garden has been operating as a community food garden since 2011. However, it came under the guardianship of EcoMatters in 2020.
Based in New Lynn, EcoMatters has a long history of working with communities to deliver environmental initiatives. The organisation operates Auckland-wide, but The West is home. Among the many projects EcoMatters oversees are bike hubs, e-waste and recycling initiatives and restoration projects.
The Hope Teaching Garden is set among homes and local businesses along the banks of the Whau River. And the 326 sqm site is being transformed into a flourishing green space, supporting biodiversity, soil regeneration and learning opportunities.
However, a lot of work has gone into creating the thriving garden. When EcoMatters took over the management of Hope Garden, the space was overgrown. Noxious weeds like Morning Glory and Madeira Vine were a big problem. Madeira Vine grows aerial tubers along its stem. There was a real threat of these tubers entering the Whau River and being taken downstream to impact other areas. Both Morning Glory and Madeira Vine are hard to control, requiring removal teams to use specialised techniques.
Funding of $10,000 from the Your West Support Fund has allowed EcoMatters’ weed team to bring the site under control.
EcoMatters Amanda Hookham explains more: ‘Our staff led the weed removal work, engaging with garden volunteers and the local community,’ she says. Amanda adds that the team used the opportunity to raise awareness of these significant pests and educate people on their safe removal. ‘It’s fantastic to see fern birds return to the mangroves along the garden’s edges,’ advises Amanda.
Now that the site has been restored with native plants, EcoMatters can continue engaging local businesses and the community. Hope Teaching Garden offers the perfect platform to highlight the importance of waste reduction, food scrap collection, and pollution reduction. And it’s also given locals a chance to grow their food sustainably.
'The Your West Support Fund has kickstarted this exciting initiative,' says Amanda.
Volunteers have many opportunities to roll up their sleeves and get involved. Local businesses can also contribute with group volunteering, in-kind donations or sponsorship. ‘As well as caring for nature, the education and volunteer programme fosters wellbeing and togetherness, community connectivity and resilience,’ advises Amanda.
Check out the EcoMatters website for more information.