Going Underground For The Jam

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 | 2 Comments

Table_40 2011-08-23

Imagine a community orchard in your street, where you can pick apples for your children’s lunch boxes, plums for your jam making or even a lemon to finish off that gin and tonic. One, not so fine Sunday in August, this dream came one step closer to becoming a reality.  After months of planning and consulting with residents and the Devonport Takapuna Local Board councillors (DTLB), which also fronted up with a small amount of cash, members of the Devonport Transition Town turned up and planted fruit trees on the berms outside participating residents’ houses.

First stop was Margaret Smith in Old Lake Road. Margaret, who is now the proud caretaker of a Braeburn apple tree and Black Doris plum says, “I’ve always wanted fruit trees.  I have a feijoa bush and a crab-apple tree but lack the space for more.”  She sees this as just the beginning, hoping that others will see her new trees and get interested in the idea. So what is the idea behind all this?

The Devonport Transition Town is one of hundreds of Transition Towns worldwide, each one building on the community in which it exists and helping that community to become more resilient and sustainable.  The fruit tree initiative is one suggested by Transition Town founder, Rob Hopkins.  It is multi-faceted, being initially focused on growing and sharing food, but with the spin off that neighbourhoods grow closer with a shared sense of purpose.

Brenda Bendall of Niccol Ave knew that the Mount Eden Transition Town was trying to establish the same project and had been discussing the possibility of doing just this with friends and neighbours.  Brenda said that she hopes that the community will get back to how it used to be, when everyone knew each other and looked out for each other’s kids.  “Not only is it good for the community” says Brenda, “but it is a great use of urban space. Most of us have small sections; we do what we can but we don’t have the space for trees.”

And what did we discover when we were out planting?  The remnants of a lemon grove that once stretched the length of Niccol Ave.  So it’s hardly a new idea, but one worth reviving.

– Rachel McDonnell


Imagine being able to eat fruit from all over our neighbourhood.

This is already a reality in some areas of Devonport with the olive trees and it can be in your street too.  All that’s needed to get started is for you to agree to have a tree planted on the council-owned verge outside your home.

  • enhance your street
  • enjoy locally grown food
  • build a community resource

You can

  • do as much or as little for your tree(s) as you’d like—we will do the rest
  • choose to help pay initial costs or not.
  • choose from a range of hardy fruit tree species.

Who is behind this?

This scheme is being developed by Transition Town Devonport, a non-profit community group which aims to make our Devonport Peninsula community more enjoyable and resilient.

Growing more food in our neighbourhoods is one way to increase local resilience and community engagement.

If you are interested please email info@ttdevonport.org.nz

or phone 4453642


  1. Elaine McDonnell says:

    Indeed, I think ’tis perchance.
    How fame doth spread!
    And the fruit trees are such a splendid idea!

  2. Annabelle Claridge says:

    Excellent story about a brilliant concept for our neighbourhoods.Well written. Is that the Rachel McDonnell of “The Angle” newspaper fame?

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