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From garden to table

Photos of tomatoes and flowers

Published: March 5, 2024

Across the motu we’re passionate about our māra and helping empower our young people to grow, harvest and prepare nourishing kai. At the beginning of each year, kaimahi and taiohi at Real’s Mana Taiohi in Tāmaki Makaurau put in the mahi to get their beautiful garden up and running.

It begins with a trip to the garden centre, where our taiohi help choose the fruits, herbs and vegetables we want to plant. With new seedlings in hand we start the planting process, using our planter boxes as new homes for our future produce.

Person working in the vegetable planter box

Learning to plant seedlings at the right depth to allow them to spread roots serves as a reminder that a nourishing environment is crucial for something to flourish – just like our mental wellbeing. Watching the lifecycle of the garden reinforces the valuable lesson that life is not always linear, there are many ups and downs along the way.

It’s a team effort by many people to keep our garden flourishing, whether this is pulling out a weed, grabbing the watering can, or perhaps whispering words of encouragement when no one is watching.

Getting to harvest some of our wonderful produce is a highlight for both taiohi and staff. The process is a great reminder that many pleasurable things come with delayed gratification. Sharing in our hard work and enjoying the kai that we have collectively grown together is a great gift. After a karakia, many hungry mouths devour the food that truly has come from garden to table.

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