Introducing Viv Jones

Where were you born?
Sheffield, UK

What brought you to NZ?
I married a “Westie” in the UK, we came for a visit, settled in Massey and have never moved.

How long have you lived in Massey?
For 36 years, and raised three children here attending local schools!

What is your favourite secret about Massey?
I love Moire Park and walking the Manutewhau track – a treasured bush location yet we live in such a built up area! We are lucky to have so many green spaces
in our area, plus easy access to many beaches and the Waitakere Ranges.

Tell us what you do in the community?
I am just starting as a Massey Food Hub Project Coordinator, trying to improve food accessibility for our families, by connecting community gardens, groups, foodbanks and the residents of Massey. In 2014 a survey in the Massey west area highlighted issues for families re food scarcity, and my task is to check out the issues then and now, across all Massey, to identify and support solutions. 

I was active in Massey Matters as a resident from 2006 but I became formally involved in 2009, joining the Advisory group/now governance committee. I am a foundation member of the Triangle Park Community Garden in 2010, and I worked for many years as Manager of Barnardos Waitakere and more recently at Waitakere Workers Educational Association (WEA)/WEST we provided Driver Education, First Aid, and Sustainable Living classes in Massey. We also partnered with Massey Matters to develop the Massey Employment Gateway programme to support residents into local employment, and the Massey Means Business network to grow small businesses.

What is your vision for gardening in Massey?
I’d like to see all our community gardens as a central point where we all share & learn – skills, food, a meal, our time! Did you know we have four gardens in Massey that all residents can join? 

Gardens become a social network, and we share the skills with our children.

Check out our Backyard Garden Project too – as an opportunity to grow healthy food in your own garden.

What is your favourite garden item to grow?
I’ve had so many over the years, usually when I’ve been shown a vegetable by someone, with their personal tips on growing and cooking it. Kumara, artichokes, Thai eggplant, herbs, rocket, and leeks - the list is endless! 

Any tips for fledgling gardens?
Just do it! You’ll be amazed how much you can grow in your own backyard, with a bit of planning. Join your local community garden, as we have a few in our area. There you can learn more ideas to take back to your own patch, but if you’re anything like me you’ll really enjoy the company of other gardeners – we’re all learning together. I enjoy seeing the wide range of different plants other people grow, and how they eat and cook them.

If you could give one piece of advice to whanau, what would it be?
Plant something, water & weed it – it will grow in this climate!

Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

Triangle Park Community Garden
Wednesday and Saturdays from 10am – 12pm
Contact: Triangle Park Massey Community Garden

Massey Matters