Posts Tagged ‘community


Seedy Sunday, seed stores and seed sorting

In the interests of transparency, and because it’s been asked, it’s about time I explained some of the behind-the-scenes workings of Seedy Sunday. People want to know more about what happens with the seeds, where they come from and how they get looked after.

There’s an entire ecosystem of seeds that keep Seedy Sunday running. And explaining it all may show you the depth of my madness. But because this is a community event I think it’s good to have a bit of clarity around what happens.

  • Anna’s seed collection

I have this thing for seeds. I grow them, I collect them, I process and store them. Some I swap, some are given to me and some are bought. This little seed fetish is how Seedy Sunday started; not just to feed my maniacal collecting frenzy, but because the value of seeds and sharing and community building became more and more apparent.

  • Seedy Sunday’s pot of gold

To prepare for a Seedy Sunday I donate a pot of seeds for each event; usually about 50 packets. This ensures that everyone who comes gets something and adds some variety to the table. Other people bring seeds and whatever is left after an event is safely stored away in an air-tight tin can until the next one.

  • A growing opportunity

Some of that seed may be grown out by myself or given to experienced gardeners to keep the seedline going. This builds up stores of seed to be giving out at Seedy Sunday or to go into a community chest. That’s a project I’m calling the Kapiti Seed Store.

  • Funding the growth

LovePlantLife seeds are a separate thing entirely, but still an important part of this ecosystem. Most are bought in but some lines are grown by me under careful conditions and checked for strong viability. These act as the fundraising arm for these activities. I’d like to keep Seedy Sunday and the Seed Store as self-funding projects and not apply for already overstretched Kapiti community grants.

LovePlantLife lets this happen by paying the bills – marketing, hall hire, printing, consumables etc. The donation at events usually covers afternoon tea and a bottle of wine for the speakers. None of the seeds I’ve received through Seedy Sunday have gone on to be sold.

So what do I get out of all this?

I get to put together something pretty special. Seedy Sundays have been really popular, educational and social. Some great things have come out of it, some great friends even. I’m doing work I feel is really important. And I actually really enjoy harvesting, processing and packaging seed. I guess it’s what you would call enjoying the little things in life :)

~ Anna


The Myth of ‘Fully Self-Sufficient’

Many times I’ve heard people claim to want to be fully self-sufficient. With a dreamy look in the eye, they think how peaceful it would be, how simple life would be growing all your own food and living ‘off the land’.

Quite frankly, I think these people are mental. They don’t realise how much hard work, skill and organisation growing all your own food takes.

Toby Hemenway, American permaculture expert and author of the excellent Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, seems to agree and explains the myth and reality much better than I would.

I don’t think this mindset is reserved for permaculturalists and idealists. I see it in those entrepreneurial types who’ve battled through and made ‘their own way’, doing it ‘all by themselves’. They generally think everyone else should have to too. It’s incredibly myopic thinking. Usually said with a sense of pride, it simply shows that they’ve forgotten, or disregarded, all those who’ve helped them over the years. Getting things achieved, you simply can’t do everything yourself. Living is not done solo.

Thanks to Ours Not Mine for the heads up.



Food Forest Day – Upper Hutt – Saturday 28 August


Raumati South Wetlands Planting Day


Kapiti’s wetlands need you! 3 great community events coming up

The world needs wetlands

Wetlands are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. They provide a habitat and enormous food source for fish, birds and other animals. These areas support the greatest concentrations of bird life of any habitat in New Zealand and support far more species that a comparable forest area. Native fish need wetlands too. And we need these species.

Wetlands are vital organs for our environment. They are able to sink carbon and can reduce the impacts of increased rain preventing flooding. They help stabilise shorelines and riverbanks. Wetlands also help to improve water quality by filtering and adding oxygen to water.

Over 90% of the wetlands in New Zealand have been drained since European settlement, mainly to create farmland. So it’s incredibly important that we work together to protect, conserve and restore these very special areas.

Kapiti wetlands need to be restored – help plant trees at these events

Three Kapiti community groups are asking for volunteers to help them plant out local wetland areas. Come and plant some trees, meet others in your community, learn a bit, get a great sense of satisfaction and be active!

Make sure you wear good footwear, bring a spade if you can and a bag to take away any rubbish.

Sunday 23 May from 9.30am

Queen Elizabeth Park, near the intersection of Matai Rd and Poplar Ave, Raumati

Raumati South Residents Association

The RSRA have received DOC funding to restore a rare type of wetland area. Live music and a fun event for all the family. To be held rain or shine.

Saturday 29 May from 9am

Waikanae Estuary, Manly St entrance, Paraparaumu

Waikanae Estuary Care Group

Get your feet dirty, plant some native trees and have fun. Planting, morning tea, estuary walk and talk tour, BBQ and prize draw.

Saturday 29 May from 9am

Otaki River Estuary, Kapiti Lane, Otaki

Friends of the Otaki River

Bring your own spade but holes will be pre-dug for people and morning tea will be provided.

For more information on wetlands:


Gardening for community – weekly garden sessions in Kapiti

Kapiti’s Food Forest campaigners have been getting their hands dirty with weekly working bees in Waikanae. We’ve secured the use of a greenhouse to do some nursery work. This is a great opportunity to start growing on plants that we can use when we have secured a site for the community food forest.

These weekly community gardening sessions are a great opportunity to get involved, meet some people, maybe even learn a thing or two. It will be a pretty informal affair – turn up and lend a hand and have a chat over a cup of tea.

There’s plenty to keep us busy – weeding, digging, making seed-raising mix, making compost heaps, planting seeds, propagating, transplanting etc. If you want to learn any of these skills, hands-on is a great way to do it!

If you want to come along – gmail me at loveplantlife, or leave a comment.


Generosity: The other part of the how much to plant equation

generosityI always hear about people so sick of zucchini at that certain time of year.  Stories about sneaking it into muffins and scrambling to find as many uses as possible until they’re thoroughly sick of the sight of it. Then they do the same thing later with something else – silverbeet for example. Sound familiar?

What I can’t work out is why they simply don’t give it away. Or at least trade it for something else. 90% of New Zealand’s vegetables get bought at supermarkets – they can’t tell me everyone they know has a glut of zucchinis. If that’s the truth, they need to get out and meet more people.

So my big piece of advice is grow what you can. If it’s more than you can eat then give it away. Be generous – people will love you for it. Leave big bouquets of salad leaves on people’s doorsteps. Send herb clippings to your neighbour. Take your broccoli seedlings to work. Give your left over lemons to the food bank. Take your spare beans to Seedy Sunday. Trade some of those zucchinis for some new potatoes with the gardener down the road.

I do all these things regularly and I want to do them more. I love it. It makes me feel great. It makes me feel part of my community and it stops me from feeling isolated or sad. People love it and I feel like a better person. It’s a win win win situation.

Don’t be scared of planting too much – just don’t let your extras go to waste.


Kapiti Community Food Forest

kapiti coast and island

Inspired by Geoff Lawton’s Establishing a Food Forest, a group has got together to explore the potential of food forest gardening on the Kapiti Coast. Our vision is to build a community food forest garden for Kapiti.

Planned, planted and maintained by the community, the forest garden will serve as an education resource, plant nursery, seed bank, outdoor community centre, meeting point and food bank. Accessible to all, the area will become an edible landscape with walkways and glades, natural in look but designed with our needs for sustenance and play. A living repository for the future, in the heart of our community.

We’ve been doing a lot of talking, thinking, researching and come up with a document that we think encompasses the project’s heart. Now, we need some input and some support from you.

Have a read of the Kapiti Community Food Forest Proposal
Please do send us an email answering the following questions:

1. Do you support in principle the establishment of a community food forest in Kapiti?

2. Would you be willing to be part of a group of volunteers that is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a Kapiti community food forest ?

3. Do you have any resources (land or money) you would be willing to donate to help to establish the Kapiti community food forest?


Welcome to the weekend

seedy1Alright, I’m prep’ed and ready go. The very first Seedy Sunday happens this very weekend. Apart from the horror of having to get up and talk in front of a group of people and the few technical difficulties we are having with the videos, I’m surprisingly calm.

So a quick list of what I’m taking for the swap table: Shoofly seeds (said to scare off white moth), Marigold seeds (the ones best for nematode control), Pumpkin Jack-be-little (they’re so cute!), Jerusalem artichokes for planting, and some organic produce – lettuce, oregano etc.

Nervous but incredibly excited about the possibilities! I’m really hoping this will be a positive step in building a community of people who share, care and promote gardening and healthy eating. If you are near Kapiti drop on by.



kaleI’m exhausted, having spent the day at the Kapiti Sustainable Home and Garden (SHAG) show promoting the heck out of Transition Towns and Seedy Sunday. It’s been a beautiful day. But now I’m a little sunburnt, a little weary, with feet a little sore. Just enough energy left to pour a well-earned wine.

Thrilled to bits about response to Seedy Sunday! Lots of very keen gardeners, a supportive mayor and great reception from other local ‘eco’ groups. Everyone I talked with really liked the idea of getting together and sharing questions and experience about local conditions, pests and practicalities. Yay – getting excited! April 19 – here we come!

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August 2020

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