The central ethos underpinning the CHS’s strategic direction is that of sharing our horticultural knowledge and the sheer joy of growing one’s own fruit, vegetables and flowers.

rickyRight now there’s a strong drive within Canterbury towards community-based, edible gardens and we are seeking opportunities to collaborate with such groups and maybe get involved in joint projects.

The Wai-Ora Trust is one such organisation and is based on a 7 hectare site in Harewood. It hosted a community lunch recently to promote awareness of its activities.  General Manager Ricky Ehau (pictured left) explained that “the trust’s aims are ‘helping people grow’, by promoting and supporting projects, programmes and community-based businesses that will develop people, our environment and our community.” Around 90% of the trust’s income comes from its charitable company Wai-Ora Forest Landscapes.

rachelvoganCHS Board member and “Happy Gardener” Rachel Vogan signed up to help the community gardens for the season, as a crop mentor, support person and jack of all trades.  “And what a joy it has been” said Rachel.

“I have never worked on something that is as rewarding as this, meeting people from all walks of life who have come together to grow food, learn new skills and feel like they are part of something.”

Community or family groups can sign up for a whole or half plot for the growing season, which starts in September and finishes at the end of May. There is a token fee of $80 and all the tools, wheelbarrows, copious amounts of worm tea, compost and resources are provided as are fresh seedlings which are generously donated by Zealandia Horticulture. Even though the season is soon to end, people can still get involved by contacting Rachel tel: (03) 329 6323, 021 632 342 or email:

Image: Cr Ali Jones & CHS Board Member, Rachel Vogan go undercover at Wai-Ora