In this story we hear from one of our Faith Funding Managers, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) about a successful gardening project they are working on in the Waikato. The project which started in 2011 is funded with a donation from The Tindall Foundation.

 The town of Meremere is right beside the Waikato River and a midway point between Auckland and Hamilton. Once a bustling town that served as home to workers of the local power station, it is now a community faced with many social issues and challenges, including high unemployment, domestic violence and gang-related crime.

In partnership with the Maori Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Auckland ADRA has established a community garden in Meremere. The gardens have become the hub of the community, providing a means for families to come together and share a sense of community, while providing produce for families that are going through a tough time.

In only its second year, the community gardens already provides 40% of the community with fresh produce and it plans to increase this to over 80% in the next couple of years.

Meremere are proud of their community garden, but most importantly proud of what they have been able to do for each other. “It’s great to see a community come together and to achieve what they have in just a short period of time is amazing”, says Evan Fray, National Programme Director.

What started off as a simple community gardens project has now evolved into something much more. In partnership with the Maori Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA has established a mentoring programme and runs evening literacy classes in the local community hall.

Thanks to some seeds and a few vegetables Meremere is a community on the rise again.