P2P Growers hui: Karetu Marae, Karetu
September 24, 2021
We had a wonderful catch up at our last hui on 24 September at Kāretu marae. COVID has continued to disrupt our lives and the importance of food security remains front of mind. In this context, Pā to Plate is increasingly relevant to marae communities. We wish to acknowledge Suz, Kim and their community for their generosity in hosting Pā to Plate. Outcomes of the hui include:
Update. An overview of Pā to Plate, it’s possible structures and its kaupapa was shared. Pā to Plate was established as a grower led social enterprise with the intention of giving back to member communities. Its primary kaupapa is connecting the tangata to the whenua via kai.
Kōrero. Ngāti Manu told whakapapa connections across Te Tai Tokerau and the history of māra in the valley and beyond. Kāretu has a rich history of gardening and orcharding and there was a real interest in reviving these traditions. We discussed the need for greater food security, particularly in this era of pandemics and lockdowns. Kōrero also mentioned processed kai – preserves, pickles, jams, chutney and sauces – and how marae once produced ‘bucket loads’ of processed kai. It was stated that Pā to Plate could be seen as a ‘movement’ to revive communities.
Seeds. The hui received a seed planting demonstration at the back of the wharekai from Paula Hohua. Paula provided a hands-on demonstration of growing seeds in trays. This was followed by a seed and plant swap. The hui expressed a desire for more hands on wānanga to share knowledge and ideas. Pā to Plate is keen to explore ways of upskilling members in a range of areas – from seed saving to making compost.
Plans. We covered off plans for the coming spring, and developed the planting schedule. We will work with growers individually to ensure that we are aware of our production schedules so we can plan markets and direct sales.
Community events. The hui asked for events to help with garnering community support. It was agreed by the hui that new communities would ideally be mentored by those who were already producing.
Value add. The hui noted that if selling, we could add value to produce from the māra, by adding kōrero. The hui was in favor of processing kai using marae kitchens, where possible.
Seed banks. The importance of maintaining a seed bank was supported. It was felt that seed and rootstock sharing should occur again at our next hui. Saving and sharing seeds was seen as a way to maintain marae communities food security and also to have healthy food stocks.