Visit to Common Unity Project
On Friday we were lucky enough to visit Epuni School in Lower Hutt and the Common Unity Project that started as a partnership between Epuni school and the local community to grow food on the empty school food, develop outdoor education, fund raise, enhance community connections and feed the students healthy homegrown food 3 days a week. Sounds somewhat familiar ... although our project has a distinctly Science Technology Engineering and Maths learning focus. The Common Unity Project is growing and a real success story they have outgrown the small classroom at Epuni school and have moved into an old factory across the street.
We visited the community drop in centre which is an incredible building with a seedling raising area out front and an expanse of rooms and workshop spaces inside. The Koha Cafe is a community drop in space that has the cheapest coffee in town! You step into a very welcoming cafe space which has a large shared dining space, comfy sofas and houses the common grocer.
The Common Grocer is a food coop that supplies bulk goods at great prices to members anyone can join and benefit from bulk buying.
The grocer also sells sustainable products, such as re suable sandwich/shopping and produce bags hand crafted by the Sew Good collective, these products are also available online on the Common Unity website and online shop https://www.commonunityproject.org.nz/shop/
We used their enterprise ideas as inspiration for our farmers market project!
Walking through a small library space the building opens out into gigantic workshops and studio spaces. This part of the building houses a resident builder and the recycled rides scheme where two cycle mechanics repair donated bikes to rent out to the community. Here is also the home of the Beeple Honey Business ... which aims to bring honey back to the community by donating it to local schools.
The scale of the building and the incredible work going on in the workshop spaces was truly inspiring ... one of our senior students was very excited to see all the beehives under construction :)
Upstairs we discovered a creche and a heavenly sewing room and another room just for fabric storage. We were very impressed by the amazing laptop, shopping, messenger and coffee grounds bags being sewn using old bill board posters ... amazing work using recycled materials and professional sewing machines.
It is difficult to show you the size and the energy of this incredible space - however we were inspired and we shared a lovely lunch at the cafe with Julia and other members of the community, coming in to sew or have a sewing lesson. Next time we visit we will visit on a Tuesday and visit the school playing field where they farm vegetables to feed the students of Epuni Primary.