Social media growing plant swap

Van Clarke, 4, with his plants for the plant swap.

One morning last week, Jo Shannon emailed Jessie Grimmer, who lives a street away. She copied in a couple of others.

“I am thinking of doing a plant swap at the park on Saturday, March 27,” Jo wrote in her email.

“Would you be keen to join the streets? Thought we’d to it early 9am – 10.30am, might try to get a coffee truck if people want to buy a coffee too.”

Jo also happens to be the Carysfort Street Neighbourhood Support facilitator. The replies came quickly back.

“Let’s do this!” and “Cool idea for Neighbours Day!” were just a couple.

A letter box drop was planned, and a message posted to Neighbourhood Support Omanu Area coordinator Linda Thompson’s Facebook page, and shared to the Bayfair community page. Then Instagram. And the Neighbourhood Support Facebook pages for Omanu, Papamoa, Bayfair and Western BOP. Social media at its best was in full flight.

The park Jo was referring to is Horoipia Reserve, which had a new CCTV camera installed just before Christmas following some rather intimidating and disruptive behaviour which made it unsafe for neighbouring families and children to use the park.

Leander Street Neighbourhood Support coordinator Jessie Grimmer has about 50 families in their street’s neighbourhood support group. She and Jo brought their two groups together to have a party in the park to celebrate the CCTV cameras.

The message for Saturday from the two coordinators is clear: “Bring a plant to share with a neighbour and take something new home.” Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

“We immediately saw the plant swap initiative as a perfect match for our community, which includes backyard beehives, nano orchards and flower enthusiasts,” says Jo.

“Personally, I believe it is extremely important for kids to learn and care about plants, bees and food origins. Seeing their little faces when the plants ‘give back’ is wonderful.”

Jo says that, as a community, they are lucky to have Horoipia Reserve where they can run these types of events.

“The reserve is a bustling hive of activity all hours of the day, with families, older children and dog walkers,” says Jo.

“Of course, we still have a wish list for Tauranga City Council to sow some grass and add a pedestrian crossing or two for safety, but we are grateful for the green space.

“As an area we are seeing more young families moving here, and apparently a new coffee caravan has set up locally too.

“Since the Covid pandemic we have noticed a more ‘open arms’ and caring approach between neighbours and community members.”

The Happy Neighbours Day Plant Swap is happening at Horoipia Reserve from 9–10.30am on Saturday, March 27, and the two Neighbourhood Support groups are hoping to see all of their families involved.

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