Community Garden scheme receives additional funding

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The Mara Kai scheme has received another half million dollars in funding to extend the scheme. Mara Kai are non-commercial community gardens, which may be eligible for a start-up grant of $2,000 from Te Puni Kokiri to buy tools, materials and equipment.

Since the scheme was launched in October 2009, 214 contracts have been let, from the Far North to the Bluff, including 32 projects in Te Tai Tokerau (Northland district) and 30 in Takitimu (Hawkes Bay). Further applications were put on hold after the first $500,0000 was used up.

Dr Sharples says Mara Kai are a way of promoting self-sufficiency, well-being and good nutrition, as well as maintaining knowledge of gardening. The social aspect of community gardening helps strengthen local networks and makes communities more resilient.

Im thrilled that the Mara Kai fund has been over-subscribed. And Im even more thrilled about the fact that we have been able to allocate another $500,000 to Mara Kai for 2010/11, said Dr Sharples.

The money will come from within Te Puni Kokiris baseline budgets. Mara Kai is one of the projects supported by the Maori Economic Taskforce.

Dr Sharples released a progress report on the Taskforces work at a business breakfast meeting in Gisborne this week.

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