Okeover Community Gardens are 15 and we’re celebrating!

Okeover’s beginnings in 2002

This year, Okeover Community Gardens turns 15. Over this time, the gardens have evolved to the peaceful, enjoyable space they are today.

In 2000, Kākāriki Environment Club first proposed establishing a community garden at UC, and in 2002 a suitable site was found. The gardens were based on permaculture and organic principles, with the idea of opening them up to staff, students and the wider community.

An orchard and annual vegetable garden beds were established, along with a pizza oven used for garden celebrations and events, a herb spiral and perennial vegetable beds.

2015-16 saw a redesign of the original garden beds, with the UC carpenters installing a mandala of macrocarpa raised beds. The previous Garden Coordinator, Jane Aistrope, designed the new set up. They allow for a crop rotation of four different groups of vegetables.

Future plans for the gardens include establishing a food forest in the orchard area – with edible and beneficial plants providing an understorey for the fruit and nut trees.

The gardens exist with the help of our wonderful cast of volunteer gardeners who put in their time at our Friday afternoon working bees. Over the years, we have had hundreds of keen beans weed, plant, compost and sow in the gardens.

To celebrate this landmark date, and the spring equinox (Sept 23), DigSoc will be hosting a gala, with pizza and cake, on Friday 22nd Sept from 3-7pm. Do come along and celebrate with us! Bookings are essential as space is limited; email uc.digsoc@gmail.com

Here is a montage of some of the many garden photos from over the years. It has changed such a lot! Click to enlarge the image.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jane’s Garden Update: Cool Seasons, Strong Communities

img_1748 img_1749 img_1893With such a mild winter and typically stable weather patterns we were lucky enough to have sunny Friday afternoons for most of winter. We have been enjoying beautiful produce, including mesclun salad, rocket, coriander, spring onion, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, silverbeet, leeks, yams, artichokes, asparagus and miners lettuce.  Before the year is out we will harvest broad beans, rainbow chard, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish, new potatoes, cherries and raspberries.  All fuel for a very busy period ahead in the garden!

Much sowing and planting is taking place for crops that will feed us next year. From fruits, leaves, roots and beans to herbs and flowers. All manner of annuals are germinating and reaching their leaves to the sun and their roots into to the soil. Hands on gardening aside, there has been some interesting happenings over the last few months.

img_0160In July we had a farewell pizza party for two of our volunteers, Timm and Lou. Timm, from Germany, had been gardening with us since 2013 whilst undertaking his thesis, and was the Digtator for Digsoc gardening club. Lou, from France, had a short internship at UC to prepare a case for moving a log cabin into the community gardens. While the project is on hold for now, Lou was a great consultant and Super Gardener!

In August we hosted ‘WEB’, a sculpture exhibition by UC art students. Six works were installed around the Okeover Garden for one week.  As a public space exhibition the students had to respond to the space. They consulted with the community about the history and f14054250_10153858425032336_6616223816447536865_nunction of the garden, and how to integrate that into a working environment.  This was a fantastic example of how the garden can be a learning environment in many ways and we look forward to hosting the next one!

The Edible Campus Tour was held during Eco Week in September.  Around 30 people joined us at café 1894 to begin an hour long jaunt from tree to tree with our freshly updated edible campus map. While most of the edibles are established stand-alone trees dotted around the campus, there is also a cluster of fruit trees which was planted 5 years ago around the 1894 café courtyard. In both cases we hear that the plants are so well foraged that only the earliest of birds share in the harvest. This seems to support the findings of research conducted in 2014 by Kate Walsh. The report, titled “Understanding Students’ Accessibility and Barriers to Nourishing Food”, shows that growing more fruit and nut trees on campus was one of the most popular options for improving student access to healthy food.

14462972_10153956995402336_3546704790700847864_nDuring the tour we also looked at one of the proposed orchard sites by Te Ao Marama and talked about how edibles in the Okeover Stream were of bio-remediation value rather than as a food source. We learned about the interesting uses of walnuts (ink, dye, medicine, food) and gingko (food, tea, medicine) and received some feedback about how to engage foragers in the care-taking of edible plantings as a form of reciprocity.  We ended the tour at the beautiful Okeover Community Garden where the apricot and cherry blossoms delighted us.

It was a timely excursion as community feedback on the landscape master plan was being collected throughout that week. Apparently there was a good level of support for a more edible landscapes.

Another highlight of Eco Week was seeing a Community Gardener win a Sustainability Award. Tracey Tarrant received a Long Service Volunteering award for her 6 years contributing at Okeover Garden. Congratulations Tracey!!

img_1024It should also be mentioned that we are hosting students from the Organic Training College (BHU) in Lincoln. Donna and Julie, who have a wealth of gardening knowledge, are helping out most Fridays in the garden. Gardening with folk like these ensures that Okeover Community Garden is a place of learning, socialising and sharing quality nourishing food.

Thanks to all the gardeners and the extended UC community for all the support and interest you have in growing food on campus.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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Edible Campus Tour during Eco Week (Fri 23 Sep)

UntitledIncreasing numbers of universities around the globe have planted edible varieties and created edible landscapes on campus as issues of food accessibility and affordability are becoming  better understood, particularly within their student population. Edible Campus initiatives often go beyond having a campus garden, and are about changing how people see the role of food as part of general landscaping.

Many students and staff have asked the Sustainability Office to explore the potential of doing the same here at UC, not realising that there are a number of food varieties already flourishing on campus!

Current plantings are already well browsed without much publicity – demonstrating there is an interest in, and demand for more food to be grown on campus. We already have two community gardens, and the Sustainability Office has a long term plan to see more food grown on campus, complementing existing indigenous plantings and ecological restoration work.

During Eco Week this week (19-24 September), join Jane Aistrope, UC’s community gardener, on a tour around campus to find out where you can forage and nibble your way around campus.

When: Friday 23 September, 12-1pm.
Where: Meet Jane Aistrope, UC’s community gardener outside Café 1894 at noon sharp!

The Edible CampusTour is part of UC Eco Week 2016, which runs from 19-24 September 2016. Eco Week is a festival of events that celebrates and promotes what you can do for the environment, your community and your life.

Thursday: Tiny House Tour. Only a few places left! Bookings essential, 1.30pm–4 pm. Also: Cowspiracy screening (by VCUC), Kirkwood Village 6pm-8pm
Friday: Sustainability Awards Ceremony. Undercroft 101, 5.30pm-6.30pm
Saturday: Sustaina-ball. Bentley’s, 7.30pm – late.

Sunday: Drayton Reserve Volunteer afternoon (by Geosoc), 2-4pm.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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Today: Eco Week 2016 launch with free goodies

yellow gorillaEco Week 2016 (19 – 24 September) starts today! A proud tradition  of Eco Week is to start banana icecreamit with a bang by giving away FREE fair trade goodies and this year Jailbreaker Coffee (supplier to UCSA cafes) and All Good Bananas will be handing out delicious fair trade banana ice creams and iced coffee shots!

 

When: Today, 19 September, 12 to 1.30pm
Where: Undercroft

And for those who sign up to the exciting new Fair Trade Student Club, you’ll go into a draw for an extra special sweet treat… Trade Aid chocolate.

What else is happening this week?

Jpeg posterTuesday is about Dumpster-diving and Food Waste! We’ll screen the very entertaining, and thought-provoking doco ‘Just Eat It.’

6-6.30 pm: Nibbles and speakers 6.30-8 pm: Screening of award-winning doco ‘Just Eat It’. Check out the promo in the link! Free, and non-UC folk are welcome too!

On Thursday you can tour two Tiny Houses built by UC alumni. The Tour leaves at 1.30 (meet Katie at Science Road Car Park), back at 4pm. Only a few spaces left. Booking is essential, email ecoweek@canterbury.ac.nz. Also, UCSA club VCUC will screen Cowspiracy in Kirkwood, 6-8 pm.

On Friday,  learn about where to find free food on UC campus when you join the Edible Campus Tour! There are lemons, olives, walnuts, figs and more growing all over campus and that it’s all free to eat. Meet tour guide and community gardener Jane Aistrope outside Café 1894 at 12 noon sharp.

In the late afternoon, celebrate student and staff achievements in sustainability at the 2016 Sustainability Awards ceremony! Undercroft 101 – 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

On Saturday, UC’s very first Sustaina-ball presented by the UC Eco Club Network. Theme is Garden Party. Visit here for more information.  Bentley’s (UCSA events centre) 7.30pm to late.

On Sunday: Drayton Reserve Volunteer afternoon (by Geosoc), 2-4pm.

Check out the events on the UC Sustainability Office Facebook page, or check out the events section on the UC Eco Club Facebook page.

Eco Week snippit 2This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

 

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Eco Week events coming up next week!

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_280x178pxA jam-packed Eco Week is just around the corner (19-24 September). Bringing you a variety of entertaining and interesting events, presented by the UC Sustainability Office and several UCSA student clubs. This year there is a big focus on food (edible campus tour, food waste & dumpster-diving, fair trade ice creams & coffee shots for the launch, cowspiracy screening). But there will also be a sustaina-ball, a tiny house tour, sustainability awards, and a volunteering afternoon!

During every Eco Week, we showcase one or two ‘leading edge’ ideas, which typically come Laurafrom subcultures or communities who are experimenting with doing things differently, or from students who are passionate about a social or environmental issue. Examples from past Eco Weeks include showcasing fermented foods or make-your-own beauty products; raising awareness about the the plastic waste in our oceans, the environmental impact of the fashion industry or the oil and waste involved in using plastic water bottles. Whilst some of these ‘innovations’ may remain a subculture, others might slowly emerge and become mainstream, changing behaviours and systems in the longer term (like fair trade and reusable water bottles!).

If you have a particular interest in a sustainability issue, and would like to see it featured in the 2017 Eco Week, we’d love to hear from you! Email sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

The week’s events

yellow gorillaOn Monday: Eco Week Launch – we are giving away FREE fair trade goodies. Jailbreaker Coffee (supplier to UCSA cafes) and All Good Bananas will be hand out delicious fair trade banana ice creams and iced organic coffee shots! – 12 to 1.30 pm (Undercroft).

On Tuesday:  A delicious Food Waste Event. We’ll screen the very entertaining, and thought-provoking, doco ‘Just Eat It.’ 6-6.30 pm: Nibbles and speakers 6.30-8 pm: Screening. Free, and non-UC folk are welcome too!

On Thursday: Jpeg posterTiny House Tour – Visit two tiny houses built by UC alumni – 1.30 to 4 pm, booking essential ecoweek@canterbury.ac.nz.

Cowspiracy screening (presented by VCUC), Kirkwood Village 6-8 pm.

On Friday: Learn about where to find free food on UC campus when you join the Edible Campus Tour. Meet tour guide and community gardener Jane Aistrope outside Café 1894 at 12 noon sharp.

UC Sustainability Awards Ceremony – Come celebrate the sustainability efforts of our university community to improve the world around us! – 5.30 to 6.30 pm (Undercroft 101).

On Saturday, UC’s very first Sustaina-ball presented by the UC Eco Club Network. Theme is Garden Party. Visit here for more information.  Bentley’s (UCSA events centre) – 7.30 pm to late.

On Sunday: Do your bit for the community by joining in with the Drayton Reserve Volunteer Afternoon (presented by GEOSOC), 2-4 pm.

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_WordPress_BNRCheck out the events on the UC Sustainability Office Facebook page, or check out the events section on the UC Eco Club Facebook page.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

 

UC Eco Week coming up (19-24 September)

ENGS5715_Eco_Week_WordPress_BNRIt is almost spring, which means UC Eco Week is coming up too! Eco Week is a festival of events that celebrates and promotes what you can do for the environment, your community and your life. And this year it runs from 19 – 24 September. Here is the low-down as to what is happening that week…

On Monday, the Eco Week launch is all about fair trade: Come and enjoy free fair trade All Good banana ice creams and free shots of fair trade Jail Breaker coffee in the Undercroft, 12 noon – 1.30pm.

Jpeg posterTuesday is about Food Waste. Food Waste is a massive issue, which is getting more traction in Christchurch too. There will be a short food waste get-together with speakers (Cultivate Waste and Love Food Hate Waste) and nibbles, followed by a screening of the award-winning doco ‘Just Eat It’ – 6pm to 8pm (C Block). It’s free and non-UC folk are welcome too!

On Thursday you can tour two Tiny Houses built by UC alumni! Tiny houses are hailed as one of the solutions to the housing crisis and as a way to live more sustainably. The Tour leaves at 1.30 (meet Katie at Science Road Car Park), back at 4pm. Booking is essential though, so email ecoweek@canterbury.ac.nz asap if you are keen!

On Friday,  you can learn about where to find free food on UC campus when you join the Edible Campus Tour! Did you know there are lemons, olives, walnuts, figs and more growing all over campus and that it’s all free to eat? Find out where and finish at UC’s very own Okeover Community Gardens. Meet tour guide and community gardener Jane Aistrope outside Café 1894 at 12 noon sharp.

In the late afternoon, come celebrate student and staff achievements in sustainability at the 2016 Sustainability Awards ceremony! The Sustainability Awards recognise the efforts of our university community to improve the world around us.  They will be held at Undercroft 101 – 5.30pm to 6.30pm. Nominations still open til 31 August. Download the nomination here.

13668877_1129345150440692_2944166230395402891_oAnd finally, on Saturday, UC’s very first Sustaina-ball!! This is presented by the UC Eco Club Network, and the theme is Garden Party. Visit here for more information. The ball will be held at Bentley’s (UCSA events centre) from 7.30pm to late.

All good bananasDuring Eco Week some UCSA clubs will also be holding events: for instance, VCUC will screen Cowspiracy on Monday,  GEOSOC is planning a Quiznight on Wednesday and the UCSA will run an eco mug scheme at cafe 1894. To keep in touch with all events, subscribe to events on the UC Sustainability Office Facebook page. (Click Events and click Subscribe 🙂 Easy), or check out the events section on the UC Eco Club Facebook page.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us: sustainability@canterbury.ac.nz

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Food Foraging at UC – Eco Week event 2014

For the first time, Jane and Matt from the Sustainability Office, ran an Edible Campus Tour around the UC Campus. The tour saw roughly 40 people visiting food plants around the campus. It was a great opportunity to share interesting facts about the ancient origins of these plants and modern uses of them, whilst raising awareness that they are for free harvesting!

Highlights were visiting an old Ginkgo Biloba tree and a nut producing pine tree. Also worth noting are the trial plantings of the Grounds Department which include lemons, limes, pears and Chilean guava. The word is that they are well browsed … enough to be sure that if similar plantings were established the food would not be wasted. The tour made its way to the Okeover community garden where the pizza oven was ready to go and everyone enjoyed crisp pizza, lemon water and fresh pine nuts.

The lovely Matt Morris from the Sustainability Office
The lovely Matt Morris from the Sustainability Office
Some of the tour participants
Some of the tour participants
Preparing pizza together
Nothing like preparing pizza together
Timm Treskatis, the president of DigSoc, attending as well.
Timm Treskatis, the president of DigSoc, attending as well.
Fresh ingredients ...
Fresh ingredients … ready to go into the community garden pizza oven.

 

 

Those who forage together, eat together :-)
Those who forage together, eat together 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lovely map was produced for this event which is available here or the Okeover Community Garden.

ENGS3669_Edible_campus_map