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About the MCG

1. Introduction.

The Marlborough Community Gardens are located at the end of Ralph Ballinger Drive off Budge Street and next to the NMIT. The Gardens are at an early stage of development with 12 individual allotments, compost-making facilities, garden tools, taps and hoses and an area to sit and enjoy the peaceful nature of food growing all around you.

We encourage and welcome any person or group to become involved who has an interest or would like to get interested in the growing of garden fresh produce and enjoys being part of community activities. The participation by young people is actively promoted and supported.

There are many ways of being of a part of this community initiative regardless of how much you know about gardening or how much time you have available for a contribution.

You may wish to:
• Have an area of your own to grow what and when you like,
• Improve your knowledge on gardening
• Become involved with sharing your knowledge and skills with others.

Please read on to get a better feel about the Gardens, what we have today, the vision for the future, how they managed and opportunities they offer.

2. Formation and Objectives

The land on which the Gardens are located is owned by the NMIT. Mr Ralph Ballinger who was a well-known and respected Market Gardener donated the land to the NMIT upon his retirement for the ongoing Horticultural use and education. Mr Ballinger is the current Patron of the Marlborough Community Gardens.

The Riversdale Community Trust ably assisted by Mr Richard Hunter initiated the formation and development of the Gardens in 2008. They have since been joined by the Marlborough Farmers Market and others to create a team dedicated to the successful evolution of a vibrant and all encompassing Community Garden.

Our objectives are best summed up with our Mission Statement:

“To Provide a Sustainable Environment for the Development of Smart Gardens with a Valued Community Asset for the People of the Marlborough”.

3. Organisation.

A “Charitable Trust” with 8 Trustees runs the Gardens. It is the Trustees responsibility to set the vision for the Gardens and to ensure its ongoing development and viability.

We have a manager / coordinator who is responsible for managing the individual tasks associated with all aspects of the running of the Gardens, including the organising of “get-togethers”, community events, newsletters, educational workshops and the general vibrancy of a great community spirit within the Gardens.

A Caretaker / gardener is responsible for ensuring that the grounds and facilities are well maintained and provide a pleasurable and welcoming environment for users and visitors.

Garden areas or plots are made available to individuals, families, groups or organisations through a “lease” agreement. These people are responsible for their piece of the Gardens and are free to grow any type of vegetable or edible plant.

4. Supporters and Stakeholders

The Gardens have the strong support of the:

• NMIT who have provided the Land,
• Marlborough District Council who are assisting with infrastructure,
• Nutritional and Physical Activity Programme within the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board who have provided the initial funding
• Riversdale Community Trust who initiated and continue to support the Gardens development
• Marlborough Farmers Market who have provided a management structure and support to build a robust and sustainable asset.
• Many other organisations and individuals dedicated to the success of a community asset producing fresh, healthy, locally grown produce in a sharing caring way.

5. Pilot Scheme

In order to ensure that we develop a long-term quality garden and facilities area we have commenced with a Pilot Scheme. The Pilot consists of an initial 12 plots or allotments. The plots will be separated by grassed walkways and surrounded with a row of edible plants including Table Grapes, Berries and Feijoas. We have a gathering area under the large tree behind the Community Plot 4 and there is a Container where tools and equipment will be stored, together with information boards and diaries showing what is happening in each plot, what is coming up, what to plant now and tips for growing.

The Pilot is limited to the growing of edible produce only and should be fully operational by the end of this year 2009.

6. Broader Picture

The Trustees in conjunction with interested parties are developing a 5-year plan for the expansion of the Pilot scheme. While this is very much in its infancy it will include the expansion of:

• Seed raising, propagation and seed saving facilities.
• Hothouse and covered growing facilities
• Composting, with the likes of Worm Farms and maybe some Chooks and Bees.
• A Gardeners Cottage for greeting, meeting, sharing information and socialising
• Educational facilities and programmes
• Garden expansion, with walkways, fruit trees, shrubs and trees including native species.
• Recreational areas where people can relax and enjoy the Gardens with a BBQ and maybe a bottle of wine.

7. Who Can Become Involved:

a. Group Allotment Holder

Families, Organisational Groups and Individuals may “Lease” one of the twelve plots available, for a 12-month period with rights for renewal. Allotment holders are free to grow edible produce of their own choice at a time that suits them. They are required to sign a “Lease Agreement” and abide by the Guidelines.

b. Individual Community Allotment area

Individuals who do not want a large area may share a small area within the Community Plot 4. They are then free to do as they wish under the same principles as above.

c. Membership

You may just wish to be a part of this vibrant community group without having to grow vegetables. You are also most welcome

8. Why Become Involved:

For all people and groups, you will be a part of a vibrant community group sharing companionship, knowledge and experiences of gardening. There will be regular get-togethers, annual community events, newsletters and workshops including tips and recipes for preparation and cooking various herbs and vegetables.

For Allotment Holders you will have access to tools, water, compost, and information to use at your convenience.

For everyone there will be the opportunity to watch the evolution of growing fresh produce and the satisfaction of sampling and eating the product of your own endeavours.

9. Points of Contact:

Tina Fortune
Richard Hunter
Uncle Tom Cobbly