There’s been some new things going on in my neighbourhood in recent months. I live fairly close to the Avon River, where much of the land alongside it got ‘red zoned’ after the 2011 earthquake. Land which was red zoned was deemed too badly damaged to make remediating it for building on again an economic option. The damaged houses got demolished and taken away, and we’ve ended up with huge park-like expanses dotted with shrubs, bushes and trees alongside the river. It will be interesting to see if the escalating cost of housing turns that ‘uneconomic’ decision around one day. Remediating the land will cost a power of money, so any houses built there would be damned expensive. Still, living alongside the lovely Avon might encourage people to part with their money for that. Wonder how many new high-income owners would like living cheek by jowl with the nearby social housing complex. That could be a new experience for them, and one that I hope to live to see, if by some remote chance it ever happens.
After having taken a slightly different route on my long-way-round walk to the supermarket, I was intrigued to come across a fungi farm being constructed down nearby the river, and opposite the local children’s playground and pool. Of course I know about commercial fungi farms, but this looked like it was going to be an area of fungi interest and entertainment, rather than a commercial venture. Most intriguing.
When I got home, I googled fungi farms, but got nothing like what I saw on my walk. in fact, the first hit informed me that “The Fungi Farm is now producing CO2 bags for cannabis growers”. Pretty sure that that was a different operation in a different country. After a bit more internet digging I finally found the real story, and it sounds really cool. According to the blurb, it’s “A mushroom-themed education, play and foraging area, featuring at least six different native and exotic species of edible mushrooms for foragers, up to five large art installations by local artists, four engaging nature play pieces, and interactive signage for education”. Mushroom area to spring up in former red zone : Newsline (ccc.govt.nz)
I liked the foraging idea. It reminded me that Christchurch has an urban foraging network, supported by the city council who actually provide a map of where free food can be foraged. Something I’ve been meaning to check out one day just for fun, when life doesn’t get in the way. Or, is this what life is about, and I missed the memo? Easy to do – too easy, really. I’ll see if I can entice my grand-nieces and nephew along on a foraging adventure with me one day. Kids are a great excuse to do the things we that we want to do, but feel too self-conscious to do by our grown-up selves.
Then, a bit further along the river, I was excited to see that the Richmond Community Gardens have got their long-awaited shipping container coffee shop up. Sod the foraging, I thought. Let me sit by the river with a coffee first, then I’ll think about foraging.
Sadly, the coffee shop isn’t open yet, as the community garden is an entirely voluntary organisation, so things happen slowly. I’m not sure what these kind of community gardens are called elsewhere, but they’re sustainable gardens on land donated by the city council, or rented out for a peppercorn rent, and are voluntarily worked in by members of the local community.
However, the Richmond Community Gardens do have chooks there now, as a consolation for not yet having coffee. Speaking of chooks, one day, two or three months ago, three chooks came to visit me at home. When I looked out my window, there they were in my backyard having a good old scratch around under the Camellia trees, where the leaf litter is nice and thick. After a while, they wandered on back down the driveway to who knows where. I don’t know where they came from, but they seemed to be quite unselfconscious about wandering around randomly foraging.
Although the red zone alongside the Avon has come about because people lost their homes after the 2011 earthquake, and I feel for them, it has given the city a whole new area for play, exercise, and social contact. Even though I live on a busy road, a whole different world is just around the corner. Gradually, things seems to be happening there, as we get used to the idea that it’s probably never going to be a normal urban area again. I was going to move over to Governors Bay for three years to house-sit my brother and sister-in-law’s place, but that’s not happening now, for a number of good reasons. Plus, the evolving world right on my doorstep is becoming too good to miss.