Members of the May Street Reserve Community Garden have been growing fresh food for families, friends and to strengthen community bonds for 11 years.
However, recently they’ve had to dip into their own funds to keep the community garden afloat after two pieces of equipment stolen last month, causing a heavy feeling of disappointment throughout the community.
On the evening of March 17, a lawn mower and edge trimmer were taken from the garden.
The garden was opened in 2011 by members of the Mount Maunganui Lions Club with the purpose to encourage organic, non-chemical growing techniques to provide healthy and organic food within healthy soil, and has flourished to be a beneficial resource to its surrounding community.
May Street Reserve Community Garden member Leigh Pettigrew has been a part of the project since the beginning. He says with the amount of work put into the garden over the years, they’re quite upset about the burglary.
“We’re often reading reports from our neighbourhood watch and that sort of thing, and there is quite an increase in crime and burglary in the area.
“It seems to be on the rise at the moment.
“We have an honesty system going where people can come in and take what they need, but you don’t expect people to go in and steal things.
“We’re quite vulnerable here.”
The garden used to have a large amount of security due to neighbouring apartments, but in recent years they have been under construction.
Leigh says once people move back in security will be less of an issue. The execution of the garden occurred in 2011 where the Mount Maunganui Lions Club secured salvaged timber from the Rena, sourced piles of donated soil and had elected their first committee.
Now in the 11 year, Leigh says the benefits have been huge.
“It’s a service to humanity because there’s so many apartments and high density living around.
“We now have a waiting list of 20 and 43 plots altogether and 10 per cent of what the garden has produced, we give to charity. At the moment we’re donating to Kai Ora," says Leigh.
“It was pretty devastating losing this equipment because people will have to break into their funds to replace it all.
“Due to Covid, there are people out there struggling financially, and there has been a rise in theft in the area.”