Kelmarna ft. Orphan’s Kitchen Hangi

Kelmarna Gardens and City Farm is an oasis within the city and a hidden gem, transporting you into another world beyond the busy hustle of Auckland.

The Kelmarna Spring Festival (2015) was an invitation for the community to come and experience what we have here and to join us in a celebration of spring and new beginnings.
The garden and city farm have been around since ‘81, the land is owned by the Auckland City Council and leased to the Kelmarna Community Garden Trust. For the last 22 years – until the end of last year – the garden was sub-leased to and managed by Framework, a community mental health organisation. Since this relationship with Framework is no longer, Kelmarna has a new challenge, to transition and transform into a collaborative self-sustaining community supported space. However, this can’t be done by the trust alone. If we’re going to be a truly sustainable space we need the wider community to come together and recognize Kelmarna for the taonga that it is and help us nurture it.
Our spring festival was itself a fantastic example of community collaboration, with everyone involved donating their time and energy. Tom, from Orphans Kitchen offered to have a hangi to help fundraise, which fitted perfectly with the idea of the spring festival. Bringing people together to celebrate new beginnings with a passion for good food, music and gardening. So a huge thanks to Tom, the hangi was the perfect way to feed the crowd.
Beekeeping, composting, gardening and herbal tea workshops on the day were a great success letting the community experience what Kelmarna is all about – being a hub for education and demonstrating how working together on the land we can learn to heal the environment and ourselves. Thanks again to everyone who helped make it happen including, Little Bird Organics, Wilderland, Organic Mechanic, Millers Coffee, We Compost, Oak and Thistle and all the musicians and volunteers who kindly donated their time and skills!
We invite all of you to join in the collaboration to help Kelmarna grow and flourish. You are welcome to volunteer in the garden on weekdays between 8.30am and 4.30pm or just pop in to buy some local, organically grown fresh produce (I’ve heard we have the best salad bags in town). Use your initiative to figure out how you can put your talents to use within the Kelmarna community (all skills are helpful), or come along to one of our upcoming workshops to learn new skills. Otherwise, keep an eye out for future working bees and other events at Kelmarna. Come, join in, have some fun and get involved in the growing Kelmarna community!

by Julia Cardwell

I was riding past Kelmarna on my scooter at least once a day, so randomly one afternoon I decided to pull over and have a wander through. I’ve been visiting the gardens for years now and it has a really special aura about it.
There are loads of edible weeds and flowers growing wildly there that I like to forage for and eat.  It’s not really set up to grow enough produce to supply restaurants, but here’s hoping in the future more of the land will be utilised for growing so it can.
Everybody is welcome at Kelmarna Farm and this is one of the contributing factors that makes this urban community space so remarkable, I think it’s very important to have such spaces within our city. In this day and age old and young  seldom get the chance or a place to come together, but exchanges of wisdom, knowledge and support are abundant there.
So we wanted to get onboard and help raise money to keep their inner city oasis alive and open to the public. They no longer have any funding.
Putting a hangi down for this gathering came naturally, I feel there’s no other meal that has the same embrace. We wanted to bring community together and it was beautiful to see this happening in front of our eyes, hundreds of people standing around a mound of dirt in a paddock, looking, waiting, anticipating, and then devouring.