Consuming more fruit and vegetables contributes to the prevention of chronic disease. A decreasing number of family gardens at home means our communities tend to rely on supermarkets and stores to purchase fruit and vegetables. Now, more families are part of a rise in local vegetable production. 

Over 140 raised vegetable gardens have been installed in family backyards, schools, community houses and workplaces. As well as transforming the local food environment to increase access to home grown produce, families spending more time in the garden is contributing to their mental and physical health.

Knowledge around growing and harvesting food is critical to the sustainability of this initiative. Healthy Families Waitakere acted as a conduit between a community champion who coordinates My Backyard Garden Project and various organisations to run a series of educational workshops on composting, lasagna gardening, Maramataka, seed raising and how to cook home-grown produce.

Through the project, a large amount of timber and soil has been diverted from landfill in an effort to reduce waste. All materials have been recycled, reused and donated therefore there has been no cost to the families. Auckland Council donated around 160 wheelie bins to be used as compost bins and 20 tons of pallets which were salvaged from construction sites. 

Helping to shape the food environment is part of a wider approach to prevention being driven by Healthy Families Waitakere in improve health in places where people live, learn, work and play.  This is part of a series of initiatives creating local solutions to affordable healthy food

My Backyard Garden Project was launched in West Auckland and has subsequently occurred in two other Healthy Families NZ locations with 66 gardens built in Rotorua and around 200 in Mangere, South Auckland. 

Imagine if every household in West Auckland had a vegetable garden, how much healthier we would be.