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Great line-up for homegrown garden festival


Five garden designers, nine local schools, a collaboration of 32 community gardens and a range of top chefs, scientists, garden experts and sponsors are already signed-up and excitement is growing ahead of Christchurch’s new homegrown garden festival.

For three days in March 2020, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens will play host to the most innovative, exciting new garden festival on the horticultural calendar – Grow Ō Tautahi. A homegrown garden festival designed specifically for the Garden City, Grow Ō Tautahi is a creative and environmentally aware event that draws on the best ideas from the local community, schools, garden designers, scientists, food gatherers and top chefs.

Festival Director Sandi MacRae says Grow Ō Tautahi is much more than a flower show – it’s a local event based on the participation of Christchurch people in a variety of activities, displays and entertainment that will appeal to visitors of all ages.

“We’ve got fantastic partners who bring creativity and innovation to the festival – presenting partner Lincoln University will lead discussions on science and sustainability, while our Ambassadors, celebrity chef Jax Hamilton, interior designer Julia Atkinson-Dunn, award-winning garden designer Dan Rutherford and Ag Research scientist Dr Trevor Stuthridge, will all share their specialist knowledge.

“Visitors will be able to sample locally sourced food prepared by celebrity chefs, explore cutting edge landscape design displays, participate in workshops and masterclasses, learn about food science, experience gardening through the eyes of local school children and generally revel in all that’s new, sustainable, innovative and fun in gardening and food sourcing,” she says.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says it’s fantastic for Christchurch to introduce a homegrown festival that is locally developed, locally focused and one with which Christchurch and Canterbury residents can feel a strong connection.

“At our heart, we will always be New Zealand’s Garden City. But what that means in the 21st century is quite different to what it meant in the past. When I was growing up it was all about the flowers, trees and parks – the cherry blossoms and daffodils. It is still all of that, but it is also about things that matter for our future: ecology, sustainability, clean rivers, environmental protection and food resilience. A festival that celebrates all of these is exactly what we need to reignite that sense of possibility for a sustainable future.”

With a strong emphasis on the concept of mahinga kai and sustainable food-gathering practices, Grow Ō Tautahi will explore the growing trend toward locally sourced food that makes the most of what our environment has to offer.

Sandi MacRae says Grow Ō Tautahi is not like anything that’s been done before. “We’ve reached out to the community and industry to find out what they want out of a garden festival and incorporated that into the event. We’ve also looked hard at what has worked in the past and what hasn’t to make sure we deliver a local festival that makes the Garden City proud.”

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