Food Forest Open day 28th January at 11am

Thank you all of the people that came today…sorry we didnt print enough fliers… here is a digital version is at the bottom of the page

Why do we have a Food Forest…
The earthquakes throughout 2010-11 caused the govt declaring some residential areas unsuitable for continued occupation and subsequently made voluntary offers to purchase the properties. In this area there 575 residential properties that were govt owned
The community was asked what could be done with all of this land.
One of the most popular suggestions was to use the land for food forest/community garden, fruit and nut trees in public spaces, a place that enables enjoyable family leisure activities.
WDC approached Brent to gather together a group to design and manage the food forest. From there a Trust was formed and a licence to occupy was agreed.
To start things off, 17 trees were moved from surrounding Red Zone properties …trees that feed a family now feed a community

What is a food forest.
Forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables.
Forests exist fine on their own. There’s no mowing, weeding, spraying, or digging required. No pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides or nasty chemicals. No work and no people either. They somehow do very well.
By understanding how forests grow and sustain themselves without human intervention, we can learn from Nature, copy the systems and patterns to model our own forests — ones filled with trees and plants that produce food we can eat. We can design and construct the most sustainable food production systems possible; perfected, refined and cared for by Mother Nature herself.

Kaiapoi Food Forest Open day fliers
Kaiapoi Food Forest Open day fliers
Kaiapoi Food Forest Open day fliers back
Kaiapoi Food Forest Open day fliers back

Food Forest Open Day

Kaiapoi Food Forest open day

Come to our open day on the 28th January 2018 at 11am – come with your family & friends, bring a picnic.
Gates open at 11am Location – Corner Cass and Meadow Streets, Kaiapoi
Imagine wandering through a flourishing forest where almost every plant is edible and all plants serve a purpose.
Learn about the food forest, how things are grown, pick some food, experts will be on hand to answer your questions about the trees & plants.

Kaiapoi Food Forest Open Planting Day


Growing food – Growing community

The Kaiapoi food forest will be enduring through its values –
connect, nourish, educate and inspire.

On the 16th September we are having a Kaiapoi Food Forest Open Planting Day
Location – corner of Cass and Meadow Streets, Kaiapoi.

10am – Gate opens
10.30am – Welcome and blessing
10.45am – Planting fruit trees and plants, spreading compost and mulch
12.00 noon – Picnic lunch

Wear closed-in shoes or gumboots and bring your own shovel and gloves if you’d like to get hands-on.

Please bring along a bundle of newspapers which will be used between the layers of compost and mulch, this will assist in keeping weeds at bay.

Bring along a blanket and picnic, or visit one of our wonderful cafes and purchase a coffee and food and bring that along.

People and businesses have asked if they can purchase a tree and plant that?… we love this idea as we believe this would further connect the community, the businesses and the people to the food forest…

We only have one condition and that is we have some trees that we have lots of .. so call us first before purchasing a tree and we will give you a list of trees that we would like you to bring along and plant. Call (03) 3270066 or (027) 2224767 or email

Establishing a food forest was a popular request during the community consultation phase of developing the Waimakariri Recovery Plan. The WDC and The Kaiapoi Food Forest trust will work together to bring this legacy community project to life, because Kai in is our name.

Creating a food forest is an exercise in connecting people, increasing resilience and sustainability, reducing net migration, improving living quality, creating jobs, strengthening mental and physical health, up skilling youth, attracting tourists and generating profit for Kaiapoi and the Waimakariri District.

Growing food – growing Community –
Want to learn more about Food Forests visit…
Look forward to seeing you on the 16th September 2017.

  • This will be the first food forest in Waimakariri.
    This will be a legacy project, providing food for generations.
    We will grow many heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables.
    Repurposing fruit trees from the neighbouring red zones, trees going from feeding one family to feeding a community.
    The food forest will be a destination, bringing tourists and visitors to the district

Red Zone trees are moved to Food Forest

Treetech moving fruit trees

Today the 28th August and tomorrow we have Treetech moving trees that are growing in the Kaiapoi east red zone to the Kaiapoi Food Forest.

Fruit trees go from feeding one family to feed a community.

Whilst it is costing $7500 which is coming out of a promised $30K from Council, we think that it is money well spent.. for a number of reasons.

  • The families that moved off their land, leaving behind a wonderful legacy…lots of fruit trees…mature fruit trees.
  • The fruit trees are in areas that in time will be sports fields and in the way…so more than likely would be cut down and mulched.
  • The trees are mature and will provide fruit straight away.
  • The moving of trees will provide a kick start to the food forest, so we can start having students visit and soon after events.

If you would like to learn more about food forests, permaculture, would you like to help care for the food forest, donate trees and plants or donate some funds.. please make contact



Why Forest Gardens Are Amazing

I found this wonderful post about food forests and why they are amazing

Why Forest Gardens Are Amazing

Forest gardens are truly incredible things. Forests are like nature’s own version of a permaculture system, being self-sustaining, diverse and productive. By observing and copying nature in this regard, we can utilise the benefits that nature has shown us to create a forest system of our own that is respectful of the earth and provides an abundant harvest.

Forest gardens work by aping the layered composition of plant life in a natural forest. Tall trees – such as fruit trees – are the topmost layer, providing the canopy, then plants of different heights and characteristics are planted beneath, from dwarf trees and shrubs to companion plants, vegetable crops, herbs and groundcover. A forest garden can also contain climbing plants that grow up the trunks of the trees.

Copy Nature
Given the right sort of climatic and topographical conditions, nature will instinctively move towards a forest environment. Different types of plants provide advantages that promote growth of other species in their vicinity, and this has a knock-on effect that includes binary relationships between plants, insects, soil and animals. In nature, plants want to grow and flourish, and they seek to populate environments in which the chances of doing so are maximized – a forest is one of the most fruitful places for this to happen. As a guiding principle of permaculture is to learn the lessons of nature and seek to use that knowledge, copying the structure of a forest in a garden makes perfect sense.

One of the primary problems with modern, industrial agricultural methods is the planting of monoculture systems. Growing single crops is detrimental to biodiversity, and creates more vulnerable ecosystems (see more on this below). Permaculture, therefore, promotes the idea of maximising biodiversity in food growing systems. A forest garden is one of the best ways to increase the biodiversity of an agricultural ecosystem. A forest garden offers so many different niches within it that plants can take advantage of, increasing the number and density of plant species within the ecosystem.

Variety of Habitat
This abundance of biodiversity has another effect; it provides a large range of different habitats. This in turn attracts a variety of local wildlife, making for a more dynamic environment. The variety of plants will bring many different species of insects to the forest garden (which then pollinate the plants within it, adding to the self-sustaining nature of the garden). This influx then attracts birds and insect-eating reptiles and mammals, which are then food for larger mammals. The variety of vegetation will also attract different types of herbivore, although you can plant your garden in certain ways to minimise the damage by deer, say. One must also remember that, not only does this heightened influx of animals aid the biodiversity of the forest garden, it also gives more opportunity to view wildlife, which is a great pleasure.

Linked to the notions of biodiversity and variety of habitat is the concept of resilience. As we know, agricultural systems that have a single crop are highly unstable and precarious. A period of poor weather, a transmissible disease or the invasion of a pest can decimate the crop and the farmer is left with nothing. In a system such as a forest garden, where there are many different species of plants, the whole ecosystem is much more resilient to devastating events. So, even if there is an unexpected event that hits a certain species of plant hard, there are many others in the system that, due to their different chemical or physical composition, can withstand it. This means that you are extremely unlikely to face a barren harvest from a food forest.

High Productivity
A mature forest garden gives a large yield of edible foodstuffs. The variety and biodiversity inherent in the design – and with judicious planting – means that crops are available throughout much of the year. Companion planting and the variety of niches and microclimates with a forest garden ecosystem contains result in ideal conditions for plants to thrive, and so produce their edible parts, be that fruit, leaves, vegetables or roots. In fact, forest gardens typically produce an abundance of food, meaning that you will have a surplus to preserve for the winter months or trade and distribute with your neighbors or through a market stall.

Natural Compost
natureWith so much plant life in a forest garden, the leaf litter that inevitably falls to the ground serves as a natural compost. The abundance of plant material means that microorganisms and bacteria are supplied with a lot of nutrients and so quickly turn the leaves into compost and incorporate it into the topsoil. The shade and groundcover provided in a forest garden also helps to prevent soil erosion and limit the evaporation of water from the soil.

Natural Pest Control
With the great biodiversity in a forest garden attracting many species of insects, pest control occurs naturally. By providing a permanent home for lots of types of insect, the forest garden finds a sustainable level between predatory insects and those that eat plants. And the predatory insects are prevented from becoming too numerous by the birds and smaller animals that are attracted to the forest garden to feed on them. Nature again finds the right balance.

Low Maintenance
In nature, forests exist and thrive perfectly well as their own closed system. They don’t need the addition of extra fertilizer, the removal of weeds, the spraying of pesticides and so on to keep them flourishing – they evolve and adapt to incorporate change. Forest gardens do the same thing, meaning that the human effort required to maintain them is minimal. Of course, permaculturists looking to initiate a forest garden will need to put some time into planting and working with the land (such as mulching, compositing and so on) to ensure the best start to the forest, but once the forest garden gets going, it requires very little maintenance. The systems of planting that go into a forest garden perpetuate a self-sustaining system, meaning that, from a mature forest garden, the permaculturists really only has to harvest!

We are going to need funding to make it happen

Its a fact of life.. for community projects to happen, we have to raise money ourselves along with volunteer our time to make things happen.

Council have given us some funds to get things rolling ($30,000), but that soon gets spent on things like water one hose tap to site $8,000, temporary gate for access to site $680, to move trees from neighbouring Red Zone $7,500, compost approx $10,000, pathways $22,000, edging approx $15,000, entranceways $4,500, signage $1,500, mulch $5,000… and we havent spent anything on trees or plants…

You will note that the design, the organising, the maintainence, the creation of the food forest is entirely voluntary…

So I have put these words together to see if that will encourage people and businesses to come forward and donate, trees, plants, time and money.

What do you think???

Growing food – Growing community

The Kaiapoi food forest will be enduring through its values –
connect, nourish, educate, and inspire.

A community food forest provides abundant free food for visitors to gather – fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants by way of a layered companion planting system.

Imagine wandering through a flourishing forest where almost every plant is edible and all plants serve a purpose.

However we want more than that, we want people to help maintain and learn how to grow plants and be inspired to take what they have learnt to create a food forest in their backyard or in their own community. We want people to come connect with friends and family and picnic in the park, we will help facilitate community events, we want chefs and cooks come and teach people how to cook the food grown in the food forest, we want people to be inspired by artwork, creative landscaping and seating and the beautiful natural landscape.

The Kaiapoi food forest will be filled with many heritage fruit varieties that will provide a wide range of delectable fruit, higher levels of vitamin C and higher nutritional value.
The wide range of fruits and vegetables will encourage visitors to try something different to eat.

20% of New Zealanders are classified as food insecure, which means they are lacking access to safe, affordable, nutritional and culturally appropriate food. Social and community based food forest will allow better access to affordable food for low income or no income families are growing.

The Kaiapoi Food Forest Trust have joined a growing movement of food champions in the greater Canterbury community, where groups and local government, and district health sectors are aiming to bring actors together to address issues facing our food regions.

Food forest layer design principles are suitable to be replicated on small or large residential property sizes. The food forest will be the centre of learning to inspire people of all ages, how and what can be grown locally, how to reduce waste, use of plants and cooking classes, encourage food security and replicate design principles at a residential level.

The Food forest is designed to create its own micro climate, an ideal location to meet up with friends and family, ideal for picnics, ideal for events, ideal location to eat and cook food. The location of the food forest to Kaiapoi’s main street along with easy access off the motorway makes this food forest an ideal location to stop and visit by eco tourists.

Innovative creative seating and original art works placed throughout will make the food forest enduring, a destination to visit by residents and tourists. The beauty of kai in Kaiapoi’s name, makes it even more appealing.

Allow local businesses to have a positive impact and connect with a community legacy project by having employees volunteer for a day, donate produce, donate money, donate to a specific project like seating, artworks or events. Local schools and community groups can come maintain the food forest along with planting crops of their choice and of course gather food.

Community garden / food forest programs can have significant mental health benefits for participating gardeners. There is a substantial body of evidence that shows that, when taken together, the essential components of a food forest program (growing plants, spending time with others in a safe and supportive environment, being active outdoors and bringing home healthy produce harvested from the garden) can contribute to positive mental health outcomes.

If you would like to donate time, plants, or some money to the cause please let us know. Call or text Brent on (027) 222 4767 or email

Kaiapoi Food Forest vision

The Trust have developed the following ethos to ensure the food forest is enduring – connect, nourish, educate, and inspire.

Connect –

The food forest will be a place for people to gather, forage and eat food,
Volunteers working together will maintain the area,
Sheltered areas will foster picnicking and great places for children to play,
The food forest will be a tourist destination,
We will grow food and medicinal plants traditionally foraged by Maori,
Food related events will be developed i.e. harvest festivals and
Community groups will be invited to hold events.

Nourish –

Food forest layers work in harmony to remove the need for harmful sprays,
Medicinal plants along with food will be grown,
Trees and plants many being heritage will be grown for taste and nutrition,
The food forest design and layout will nourish the mind, body and soul,
Food Forests bring birds into the urban area,
Will be beneficial to insects and bugs, i.e. bees,
Utilising multiple layers and making the most of both horizontal and vertical space,
Diverse variety of plantings grown and
Plantings will be chosen to provide a range of food on a 12 monthly basis.

Educate –

A learning centre will be developed for adults and children to learn,
Participate in the growing of plants without chemicals,
Provide a healthy and safe volunteer environment, i.e. completion of a hazard review before working in the food forest,
Website ( and Facebook to share ideas,
Signage, website and labelling will educate about the plants
Native and Heritage plantings will provide alternative food,
Traditional plants and trees to educate how Maori traditionally used these plants,
What to eat and how it can be prepared and
Cooking of food.

Inspire –

Artworks will be found scattered throughout the food forest,
Creative seating will be throughout,
Access to the food forest will be unlimited,
Food security and sharing of resources,
Great place to meet people, learn new skills and enjoy food.
Growing of Kaiapoi fruit salad trees,
The design requires less labour, no pesticides, no fertilisers, no digging,
The design will inspire visitors to grow food in a different way,
The design will off-set climate change,
Duplicate the design and concept,
Layering allows more food produced in small area, with less intervention and cost
The design will use less water and
The design works with mother nature.

An enduring food forest will be a valuable legacy for the entire Kaiapoi community.

Welcome to the first post about our food forest in Kaiapoi

After the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, large portions of Kaiapoi land were purchased by the government. This land is being given back to the community for it to develop into amenities.

Ones of the most popular ideas the community wanted was a food forest.

The Waimakariri District Council invited Brent & Shirley Cairns to head the food forest project.

Their vision is to provide food for the community a place of learning and a place for people to come and gather and enjoy the food.