Food garden project dedicated to mental health week

By Tema Hemi

Mental health organisations hope to gain insight on the restorative affects of environmental interaction on the human psyche.

Māra Kai will see whānau from Blacklock Avenue in Henderson share their burdens while sharing the work of the garden. 

Gardening to clear the mind is the concept that these residents are supporting to raise awareness around mental health.  The initiative has been lead by Hāpai Te Hauora, the Ministry of Health and the Mental Heath Foundation. 

In the 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey, it was reported that one in six New Zealand adults had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives, including depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder.  The project aims to help suffers through those periods. 

All resources towards the project have been donated and the resident of the home where the garden is being made is a Hāpai Te Hauora healthcare worker.

Source - Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Website 

Rangi Mclean of Hāpai Te Hauora says, "In the times of our old people, within the work of creating food gardens it was also a form of therapy for those who struggled with a mental disorder."

Source - Hāpai Te Hauora Website 

Kelly Francis, who founded Whenua Warrior and has been a part of many food garden projects nationwide, says, "It's returning to what we know, it's returning to what our tupuna did, it's not being phased or allowing ourselves to be phased by the colonised responsibilities we have nowadays, and it also allows you to slow down and start appreciating what we have in front of us." 

All proceeds from the garden will be donated back to the community.