Practising food sovereignty to feed the family

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Social Enterprise Whenua Warrior is helping families, schools and communities to plant vegetable gardens. The initiative has now planted nearly 250 community gardens to empower families to grow their own produce.

“There's a lot of addictions, and because all that money is getting spent on drugs and alcohol there's not enough money to fill up the cupboards, so we're doing something about it,” Brenjayz Edwards (Tainui).

Whenua Warrior partnered with Brenjayz Edwards through the Te Ara Rangatahi youth program, Tū Māia, to revive a community garden in her neighbourhood.

Kelly Marie, who started Whenua Warrior, says, “They've not only come down with their families they've also come down with the tools that they have and the resources available to them and we're basically filling the gaps.”

Te Puni Kōkiri backed the initiative with $2000 to help revitalise the garden and enable the families of this community to feed themselves.

Kelly Marie says, “One of the ideas here is that we want to build a compost bin so that we can start creating soil to make the garden itself a little bit more sustainable, another idea is that we want to plant winter crops so that they can start eating food now.”

Before he passed away, Brenjayz father planted the garden to help keep kids away from the street and feed families. Now the younger ones are getting stuck in to continue the work.

“My vision is to set up heaps of fruit trees and heaps of veggies to feed the families,” says Brenjayz Edwards.

Kelly Marie is calling all earth warriors within their own communities to muck in.