"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

Until we have legislation adopted into law to ensure fiduciary accountability and transparency in public affairs we will continue to have human rights breached because the existing crown immunity and lack of any independent oversight invites corruption to flourish.

"Question authority, and think for yourself" - Timothy Leary

"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

"Information is the currency of democracy" - Thomas Jefferson

‎"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead

"The truth is like a lion, you don't have to defend it. Let it loose, it will defend itself."

"I = m c 2 [squared] where "I" am information" - Timothy Leary

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

"The internet is a TV that watches you"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let's Get Growing NZ

Let's Get Growing NZ, in co-operation with Friends of Caring (Cultivating) Communities, is part of a holistic community health initiative which aims to establish Community Gardens, and Community Resource Centres, in every community in NZ.  Kai for Kids and Mahi Mara work to establish vegetable gardens and frut trees in every school, particularly low decile areas, and teach kiwi kids to grow their own kai, cook it, preserve and store it, and trade it.

Imagine a big pot of soup and a big bowl of fruit for hungry kids, food they've grown themselves and taken pride in preparing.  This is primary health care in the community, teaching basic life skills, building self esteem and all sorts of other virtues.  The first day I went to the South End School I took a big basket of peaches off the tree I grew from a stone planted two or three years earlier.  The kids all came running outside into the afternoon sunshine and gobbled up the peaches, then we planted the stones.  Those same children are now eating the peaches from those trees they (we) planted, and the raspberries, etc, it's like magic to them, watching a tiny seed grow to something so amazing and colourful and delicious, then you remind them that it wasn't just magic, it involved a bit of commitment and care, watering and weeding, but that really, when you consider the size of the whole universe, and you look around at our beautiful planet, it really is a little bit magic, the magic of seeds.  By giving seeds and plants to children in schools we can encourage the establishment of gardens in homes, we facilitate tool libraries, time banks, and community markets, teaching values, morals, mathematics, communication, commerce and so much more.

Teaching them about the food value of sprouted seeds, brings in another bit of "magic", as in how the food value increases exponentially to such a hich degree when the seed is sprouted, just add air and water, and abracadabra!  You're teaching them good nutrition.  It's good physical excercise too.

Teaching kids to grow kai is fun, they love it, it addresses a lot of the problems they are facing today, and the value of our gardens and programs cannot be underestimated.  These community gardens are vital for the health of our communties, physically and spiritually.

Establishing these gardens in schools will also provide a sanctuary, and a physical presence in schools to address such things as bullying, depression, child abuse, youth suicide and other problems facing young people (and old) in our communities today and in the future.

Facilitators are trained in suicide prevention, identifying vulnerable children, victims of abuse, or bullying, etc, and trained in addressing those problems effectively and appropriately, listening, referring, advising, sharing information in a positive, constructive and lawful manner to achieve the best outcomes for individuals, and the community as a whole.

We run a holistic community health program, including holiday programs in schools, because the main gardening season is over the summer holidays and school gardens need tending over the summer.  Too often we are seeing schools, kindy's etc, start gardens in October or November in the southern hemisphere, and then when the holidays start they are pretty much abandoned, or tended in a bit of a haphazard way.  We want to fill the gap and maintain the consistency and the maintenance of the school gardens throughout the holidays and provide this stable, consistent, basic, natural, place of rangimarie, peace.

As well as gardening, and the skills associated with growing kai all year round, and preserving and cooking it, we teach additional things like basic first aid, cycle maintenance and safety, swimming, music, art and other useful life skills, as well as facilitate other activities, sports and games, networking with other approved organisations where appropriate to provide these services using new and existing resources.

We also conduct and facilitate Pet Therapy, Riding for the Disabled is widely recognised as being thereapeutic, and Pet Therapy extends the benfit to the wider community.  The link between animal abuse and other forms of abuse has been established, and the benefits of forming relationships with animals and learning about the psychology of those relationships helps build confidence, emotional maturity, self discipline, and other virtues, as well as alleviate boredom, depression, anxiety, etc.

We started here in the Wairarapa, in Carterton, eleven years ago, and had huge success in the community with these community gardens, and it's been good to see it catching on throughout the country in recent years.

There's a huge opportunity here to bring the whole community together, and address issues like vandalism, bullying, youth suicide and depression, child abuse, hunger and poverty, boredom and poor self esteem, and turn these things around in a totally postive way, rewarding on so many levels, to everyone involved, and the community as a whole.  Kai for Kids, Mahi Mara and our other programs are beneficial to all communities, so Let's Get Growing NZ.

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