Te Moeone - Growing for the Future
Heritage seed project
This project brings community gardeners together with horticulture science partners to raise community expertise in heirloom vegetable cultivation and make use of the marae community-based garden. Te Moeone – Growing for the Future is an exploration of the nutritional characteristics of heirloom vegetable cultivars. Crops chosen represent root crop, bulb crop and vegetable fruit crop. The project seeks to develop ways to capture crop production data on a range of traditional crop seeds, and then use this information to increase both the yield and nutritional value.
This project brings community gardeners together with horticulture science partners to raise community expertise in heirloom vegetable cultivation and make use of the marae community-based garden. The project is being led by Ngāti Tawhirikura hapū, and will involve marae gardeners from Tarereare, Muru Raupatu and Parihaka, Tahuri Whenua – the Māori Vegetable Growers Association – and Taranaki Seedsavers. Scientists from Massey University will help the project develop robust and valuable measurement and data capture that can then inform both current and future generations.
The marae garden Te Moeone and its activities strongly align with the Ngāti Tawhirikura hapū aspirations and is a conduit for positive whānau and wider community engagement. Kai/food and kaitiakitanga/guardianship of land and people are primary foundations for positive health and wellbeing of whanau, hapū, iwi and community. The wider community also holds a large amount of knowledge about home vegetable gardening and this project seeks to build on this knowledge and test current community observations and practices using science and technology. The team will answer questions such as:
- How can we use this scientific research to increase the health and vigour of regionally adapted (Taranaki) cultivars?
- How can we use science to better understand the nutritional characteristics (benefits) of our heirloom cultivars?
- How can we capture observations of community-based crop production and test these using science?
- How can we use our findings to improve our crops long-term (yield and nutrition)?
The ultimate outcome is to move another step closer to whānau empowerment around kai and to raise community expertise in nutrient dense vegetable cultivation.
Tarereare marae and whanau, Muru Raupatu and Parihaka marae gardeners, Tahuri Whenua (Maori Vegetable Growers Association), Taranaki Seedsavers.