Loving the Land
We keep busy with various projects on the land. Here are areas:
The orchard was started after we found that the individual fruit trees around personal houses got hammered by the possums. We chose a 1 hectare paddock between the public road and a stream with good sun exposure. After our first serious flood we had a bund built along the creek to stop it overflowing into the orchard.
We planted a shelter belt for wind protection and a wide range of fruit trees ranging from a variety of apples and pears, plums, peaches, citrus, grapes, kiwifruit and nashis to avocados and just recently, the odd tamarillo. The orchard also accommodates a flock of chooks that roam allocated fenced off sections. The orchard and the chooks are managed through the community “energy input” system. Two residents manage the chooks on a daily basis, the eggs are available to residents, at cost, in the community shop. A number of residents have taken the orchard on, as their project to manage. All residents can harvest fruit from it within reason. We have the occasional fruit harvesting working bee.
On the Farm
We have a small co-operative run beef cattle herd. In practise it is run by Jim and Suzie, who just love doing it. In some ways this should be seen as a private venture, as it operates outside of the community “energy input” system. The paddocks are in a sense, one of the community’s potential resources and is cared for with biodynamic preparations. One day we may see rows of bulk crops in this area. At the moment, we have one horse and a pony running around.
Pottering Around the Garden
For many years, we had just one community garden where a number of people gardened for all the residents to harvest. This wasn’t always satisfying for those gardeners. It was very much bread and butter gardening, with little time spend on more challenging produce.
In the later years the energy input expectation was reduced to accommodate life situations and energy input went into other areas of the land. Same garden less gardners. Something had to change. The community vegetable garden now grows veggies for the community meals, and for our visitors only, mostly visitors on a work exchange (wwoofers). Residents had their own plots near their houses or had a patch in the community garden. After the second major flood in 2011, the vege garden was covered by a good meter of granite sand. We have now abandoned that garden and have started to developed a new community garden, behind the community homestead, on higher ground.
This garden offers enough space to meet the community meals and visitors needs. Some residents have developed garden plots on flat land behind the Tui Balms facility, others have developed pot and mussle boy gardens around their homes where they can have easy access to veges and enjoy growning what the like.