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Save Kelmarna: 40 Year Old Community Farm Faces Closure

Kelmarna’s core mission is simple - to create a space that fosters community through the collective desire to work in harmony with the natural environment. As for many New Zealanders, the past few years have been challenging financially. With families and businesses across the country feeling the pinch, Kelmarna is feeling this as much as anyone else.

The suburb of Grey Lynn is an unsuspecting home for a 4.5 acre farm complete with thriving market gardens, chicken and sheep. But here lives Kelmarna Community Farm, a central point of community and connection in Auckland for the past four decades that has now launched an emergency fundraising appeal, asking for help from the community to remain operating for generations to come.

Grant funding has come as a major challenge to many non-for-profit organisations around New Zealand, as the grant funding system itself has been under immense pressure in recent years due to wider economic struggles. With the loss of a major grant that the farm has been receiving over the past 6 years, Kelmarna have now had to turn to the community that they support, to support them to ensure the future of the farm that has been at the heart of Grey Lynn for over forty years.

In recent years, Kelmarna has been working hard to diversify their offering and income streams by strengthening programmes all in an effort to move away from the reliance on grant funding.

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Kelmarna have launched a fundraising appeal to keep the farm gates open, and help move further forward on the path of self-sufficiency they have already begun paving. In order to keep the organisation’s vision alive, Kelmarna is aiming to raise $200,000 to support a sustainable operating framework for the next two years.

The fundraising appeal will contribute towards building a framework that focuses on the below:

  • Better communicate with the community about what they do and how to be a part of it
  • Rebuilding the school education programme
  • Growing events and fundraising activities
  • Build and maintain relationships with business sponsors
  • Foster deeper community engagement at Kelmarna
  • Recruit and retain the skills and people critical to this work

Kelmarna are asking for either a one-off donation, or for as little as $8 a month, Kiwis can support Kelmarna through their Friends of Kelmarna Membership. With your help they can create a better-resourced, robustly funded, and widely recognised educational and community hub at the forefront of the ecological food movement.

In a time where community is so vital particularly in urban environments, Kelmarna Community Farm provides a unique offering to Aucklanders looking to discover the joy of connecting with nature, learning to grow food, and inspiring the next generation to continue these practices.

Kelmarna Community Farm is a space for everyone and is open to the public seven days a week offering a farm shop that sells produce and eggs directly from the farm and a weekly veg box subscription, farm visits and tours, and a local composting solution that circles back to the land.

Below are some key stats on how Kelmarna has annually supports the community:

  • 3,000 hours of support for therapeutic gardeners who face mental health challenges or intellectual disability
  • 42,000 litres of food scraps and other organic material is composted and returned to food production through the Soil Factory programme
  • 3,600 kg of nutrient dense, organic produce is grown onsite
  • 400 hours of nature based education provided to children in the education programme
  • 35 people learn market gardening skills by completing the Farmhand 16 week training programme
  • 480 people volunteers: learning food growing skills, and making connections with others in the community
  • 3,800 people hosted at the farm via public events programme
  • 2,500 visits by customers to shop with us via the onsite Farm Shop
  • 750 veg boxes supplied to customers via the Community Supported Agriculture scheme

“We’re striving to be a more open farm – a hub for community connection, education, and food system change. It’s our goal to continue offering hands-on workshops for people of all ages, educational school visits, lively community events and therapeutic gardening programmes.

We believe in the importance of making opportunities for Aucklanders from all walks of life to engage with sustainability and each other.” says Kelmarna Community Farm General Manager, Sarah McFadden.

“Our goal of raising $200,000 will secure our future for the coming two years, and provide a viable operational framework to help us reduce our reliance on grant funding. With this funding we’ll be able to grow Kelmarna through more events, education partnerships and fundraising activities, which we haven’t had the bandwidth to pursue until now.”

More than just food, Kelmarna grows connection. We know how vital it is to connect - with our food, with the natural world, and with each other. Kelmarna is proud to be a place of hope, where people can see and experience a community-led food system having a positive impact on people and the planet.

Throughout the year there are events run by Kelmarna that are open to the public that include Farm Dinners, a Seedling Sale and an annual Festival. These can be found on - https://kelmarna.co.nz/events/

To support Kelmarna through their Friends of Kelmarna Membership, please visit https://kelmarna.co.nz/donate/

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