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VAN supports "grassroots" garden proposal

Media release VAN -- Valley Action Network 26 February, 2008

VAN supports "grassroots" garden proposal

"When grassroots people come together to re-shape their communities, great things can grow", said Grant Brookes, organiser for political coalition Valley Action Network (VAN).

He was speaking ahead of this evening's public meeting for people wanting to start a community garden in the suburb of Moera, organised by local residents Paul Kennett and Martin de Jong.

VAN stood in last year's Hutt City elections promoting social justice, environmental sanity and grassroots democracy.

"We support the establishment of a community garden", said Grant, "so that ordinary people can have access to cheap, nutritious food. The health benefits of fresh produce – grown organically if people wish it – are well known".

"When food is grown close to where it's consumed, it also means less greenhouse gas emissions in producing and transporting it. Community gardens are a great example of what's needed, on a mass scale, to reduce climate change.

"It's disappointing, but not surprising, that the community is taking a lead reducing Hutt City's 'carbon footprint' while the Council buries its head in the sand", said Grant.

"Meanwhile, as pump prices tell us, the world's cheap, easily accessible oil reserves are running out. This is going to affect all areas of life and put communities under increasing stress.

"Food produced in community gardens doesn't rely on huge amounts of oil like conventional intensive agriculture. The Moera community garden is a model for community adaptation and resilience in this age of 'peak oil'.

"However", Grant added, "we know that thriving community gardens come up against the "business as usual" priorities which dominate our society. Many ordinary people are under pressure, racing between casual or part-time jobs to make ends meet, and are too squeezed for time to participate."

At least one earlier attempt to set up a community garden in the neighbourhood has collapsed.

VAN is working towards a different economic and social order where everyone can enjoy community gardens, not just the committed few or the fortunate ones with time on their hands.

"For us", concluded Grant, "the Moera community garden points towards a future economic model based on co-operation for mutual benefit, not competition."

ENDS

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