Fungi, chooks, shipping containers and coffee in my neighbourhood

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 (

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.

The upcoming takeaway coffee shop built from a shipping container, with the river opposite it.

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.

The Richmond Community Gardens well-fed chooks. Apparently, they get quite a varied diet from the community 🙂

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.

5 thoughts on “Fungi, chooks, shipping containers and coffee in my neighbourhood

  1. Frances Sullivan

    Really enjoy learning about your locale. This new urban-green venture sounds great but I’m curious about the events that occurred to change your temporary relocation plans. You don’t seem disappointed so I’ll assume it’s all good.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The real clincher was the internet service. I use a lot of bandwidth doing my job, and it turns out that Governors Bay is one of those areas where internet performance can be a bit patchy, and that would be really hard for me work with. It certainly would have been a beautiful place to live, but inconvenient in other ways. Living there is a trade off between a fab location and some inconvenience. I wasn’t desperate to live there, it was just a good opportunity, so no I’m not gutted that it’s not going to happen. I’m mindful of what I’ll be missing out on, but not devastated.

    Perhaps you could write a bit about your locale, too 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Frances Sullivan

      Hm. There’s a thought. I’m so not invested in this place. Of course, it’s beautiful, but as for what’s going on I’m SO not in any loop. I came here because my daughter was here but she left to go back east last Jan. I’ve no friends of note and developing relationships with like minded sorts to do anything with was an uphill slog at best (except for one brave soul who I miss dreadfully) before the virus hit. Since that time, well, it’s just not happening. And you can probably relate to this; I am who I am and rather proud of it (on good days). I’m not willing to bend to others expectations or demands. It’s not that I’ve not met wonderful people, but oddly, they’ve all moved away. No matter. It would do my mind good – a worthwhile distraction – to write about stuff around and about me. Thanks for the nudge!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah …. I’ve heard of that phenomenon from other parents, too – i.e. moving somewhere to be close to their adult kid/s, and maybe grandchildren as well, and then the kid/s moving on. I don’t find making friends easy, either. Not mainstream enough, I guess, although I’ve never thought of myself as being way off-beat, or anything. Just not an ‘easy’ person, I suppose. Interestingly, I have met more women since I have got back into the feminist fray to try and stop our hard-won rights from being casually given away by modern femenists (note the ‘men’ syllable). I wouldn’t call these women friends yet, but we’re forming allyships. Perhaps
        one of the reasons I take an interest in my area, where I’ve now lived for five years, is that I’m understanding the importance of creating foundations of some sort in a world that seems to have fewer and fewer things we trust and/or believe in, or traditions we uphold. I’m not saying change is bad, but we’re not swapping out the things we’re discarding for anything better. Getting to know and take pleasure in my neighbourhood is a bit like creating a personal foundation, even though I may move from here one day. I would very much enjoy learning more about where you live, too 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. We used to live near the Avon River. I believe our house is stil there but many others on the same street were demolished. It’s a shame because there were lots of lovely old homes in that area. I love the fungi farm. What a wonderful idea!

    Liked by 2 people

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