Set-up starts today (Friday 5 March 2021) in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens as the city gets ready to host the first-ever, free Grow Ōtautahi festival.
Fences are going up on-site and exhibitors will start to arrive over coming days to get ready for gates opening to the public for three days from 9am on Friday 12 March. Grow is a garden festival like you’ve never seen before and it’s FREE for everyone.
Take a look at the Grow programme to see what’s on and plan your visit over the three days of the event.
One of the many festival highlights will likely be the interactive City Care Property Community Garden, bringing together Canterbury’s hard-working community gardeners.
Community gardens are becoming the beating hearts of their neighbourhoods, bringing people together to share and contribute. The Canterbury Community Gardens’ Association (CCGA) has invited all the region’s 35 community gardens to take part in the garden. Visitors will see vegetables, fruit trees, pollinating plants, beehives, birdbaths and living furniture. A large woven lady will welcome visitors to the garden, and community gardeners will be on-site to talk about everything and anything to do with community gardens.
Grow Ōtautahi Festival Director Sandi MacRae says, “Grow Ōtautahi is a homegrown festival that draws on our region’s love of gardens, creativity, innovation and design. When I first heard of the combined community garden concept, I knew people would fall in love with the idea.”
CCGA Chair Cathy Allden says community gardening is all about inclusiveness. “A community garden is a place you can wander into and find a place that makes you feel at home. You might want to pick up a spade and get digging, or perhaps you’d rather just sit and enjoy the surroundings, whatever your pleasure, community gardens are there for everyone.
“The CCGA is so excited to create a special garden that the people of Christchurch can take delight in at Grow Ōtautahi. We’re working hard right now to grow the plants and develop a design that will be sustainable, inclusive, collaborative and fun – all the things community gardens represent,” she says.
The CCGA aims to strengthen and nurture existing community gardens, and support new initiatives, in order to build strong communities and encourage these by respecting and fostering human and environmental diversity. The garden at Grow Ōtautahi is a symbol of what the organisation is all about. Community gardens are social centres that produce food and promote self-sufficiency. They are also valuable educational resources, places for people to build confidence and develop employment-related skills.