DreamtoReality: The Story So Far
It all started back in March when I won Happyzine’s inaugural DreamtoReality competition with the ambitious vision of turning Auckland’s rooftops green. I spent the next few months researching, planning and networking until I almost began to wonder if I was ever going to actually create a rooftop garden.
All that behind-the-scenes effort came to fruition in June, when I secured the first rooftop to set up a demonstration garden. Due to the humbling groundswell of community support I’ve had for my dream, I was able to assemble a team of volunteers to help me set up the garden.
Meanwhile, I was also involved in the yMedia Challenge 2010. The Challenge brought together graphic design and communications students, industry mentors and community organisations, to work on communications projects for the community organisations. I got so much value out of the Challenge, with the establishment of the identity of Urban Pantry for my project, creation of a beautiful and easy to use website, and organisation of an Auckland CBD “plant bomb” to establish awareness of Urban Pantry.
In August I held a community meeting where over 20 people came together to brainstorm how we could make Urban Pantry a raging success. At the end I had heaps of huge sheets of paper covered in colourful collections of imaginative ideas.
On 10/10/10, I got together with some interested supporters to organise an urban gardening event for the Global Climate Working Bee. It was such a buzz to see people so excited about being able to take a tiny seedling home with instructions on how to look after it.
And finally, late last month the first rooftop garden vegetable crop was ready for harvest. It felt awesome to drop a box of luscious-looking garden-fresh produce off at the City Mission, knowing that it was going to provide a healthy meal for people in need.
Looking back on all this, I feel amazed at how much has come out of sharing my dream with the world and inviting people to join me in achieving it. At the risk of descending into Oscar-acceptance style gushiness, it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve even half of this without the amazing support I’ve had from so many people. Project volunteers, my yMedia Challenge team, John who has let me take over his roof deck with a veggie garden, and numerous others have all played a part in the success of Urban Pantry so far. And then there’s Charlotte (Happyzine Editor) and Clem (the life coach Happyzine organised for me), who have been so wonderfully helpful all the way through. Clem has reminded me of so many important things at crucial points along my journey, like the importance of taking time out, how a simple mind-map can make an overwhelming task seem achievable by breaking it down into task-sized chunks, and all the while has held me to account in his gentle, encouraging manner.
Why am I reflecting on the year when it’s only halfway through November? I’m about to head off to Cancun, Mexico, with the New Zealand Youth Delegation, a group of 12 young people from around the country going to represent NZ youth at the COP16 United Nations climate change negotiations – the follow-on from Copenhagen last year.
I look forward to coming back in January after some travel around Central America with renewed vigour to pursue the next chapter of turning my dream into reality.