As early as 1800, this area was famous for fruit. In the early 20th century, Thames Hospital staff picked oranges for patients from trees growing along Queen Street. Schoolkids used to pick fruit on the way to school. There was always a source of nourishment for households, even when times were hard, and the trees provided shade, shelter and wildlife habitat too.
Local people and businesses have been happy to part with $20, $30 or $40 to have edible street harvests available to the Thames community again.
Thames Be Fruitful was set up so the community, and particularly kids, have free access to fruit.
We have planted about 400 fruit trees so far in public reserves, parks and berms around Thames and we plant about 50 each year. One of the cornerstone's of T3's activities is food resilience and this takes advantage of the abundance of nutritious growing spots in accessible public spaces. The council are totally on board.
Individuals and businesses have donated the trees over the years and an arborist course is maintaining the trees at present. The latest planting is with high school students and is on the berm of Mt Pleasant Rd. and the new community garden at Hauraki Terrace .
T3:TransitionTownThames has been working with the Thames Comunity Board and Council staff, as well as the Ministry of Justice, and others, to plant and maintain organically grown heritage fruit trees in various places around the town for the past few years.
The TCDC, the local authority, has advised which public spaces are suitable, and T3 has consulted with households in these areas as to what trees are of interest. Then volunteers and local people plant, keep an eye on them, and harvest the fruit.