Science for Communities

Project Title

C02X0305 Science for Community Change

Project Status

Completed 2008

Purpose

The project had two main objectives. Under objective 1, we worked with the East Coast Organic Producers (ECOP) Trust to identify how Maori communities can make the transition from extensive agriculture to intensive organic horticulture. A reciprocal learning network provided scientific, education and extension services to enable ECOP Trust to develop and implement best organic vegetable farming practice. Objective 2 sought general rules to improve community or group-based research. Social scientists studied the work done with ECOP Trust growers, particularly the portability of tikanga maori to the scientists, portability of the results and approach to other Maori groups, and the success of the project year by year. The agricultural and social scientists also studied a range of other community-based projects with strong themes of research, development and technology transfer.

Our Role

Page Bloomer Associates joined a multi-disciplinary science team with researchers from Crop & Food Research (now Plant and Food Research), AgResearch and the University of Auckland. Interacting with farmers and communities the length of the East Coast, our role was that of "Extension Specialist". We helped the scientists and farmers understand each other. An added dimension was the strong Maori culture that flourishes in the region, with marae based activities the norm for many. As pakeha New Zealanders, we found this aspect very rewarding. We became aware that many growers had little horticultural training.  Many short seminars were offered with topics ranging from practical gardening to crop scheduling, post-harvest and marketing. As much as possible, information was captured in short fact sheets provided both as printed and on-line resources . We call these sheets, "Panui Tips". They are available as downloads from our Resources section.

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