Mushroom foraging area sprouts up in east Christchurch red zone

The mushroom foraging area near the Avon River should be finished in April. Photo: Newsline
The mushroom foraging area near the Avon River should be finished in April. Photo: Newsline
A mushroom-themed education, play and foraging area is set to open on part of Christchurch's red zone in April.

The Mushroom Room in Richmond will feature at least six different native and exotic species of edible mushrooms for foragers, up to five large art installations by artists from the area, four engaging nature play pieces, and interactive signs to educate people about the fungi.

The project has received a $19,600 grant from red zone consultative group, Te Tira Kāhikuhiku, to help bring the project to life by the end of April.

Project spokeswoman Hayley Guglietta said most of the money will be used to install the nature play and artwork pieces on the corner of Evelyn Cousins Ave and River Rd in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor regeneration area. 

Hayley Guglietta.
Hayley Guglietta.
Organisers have already spent the past six months preparing and inoculating the soil so that it can be added to the site, Guglietta said.

“Over the Covid-19 lockdown there were lots of people out using the former residential red zone area. We want to encourage people to continue doing that, and connecting both with nature and the area,” said Guglietta.

“This is the first part of a wider vision we have. We’ve got exciting plans to transform the area from Swanns Rd to North Avon Rd into an educational, family-friendly art trail and nature play area that weaves among the old, established gardens and fruit trees that we want to continue tending.”

Te Tira Kāhikuhiku chairwoman Chrissie Williams said the project will educate people about mushrooms, while also providing a new community hub for Richmond residents and visitors.

“This project will be an educational experience, but I’m most excited about the use of large-scale artworks to engage the community” she said.

TTK is able to approve applications to use former red zone land on a temporary basis and can issue grants for up to $20,000 to help enable projects and activate the regeneration areas.

Said Williams: “I really encourage people to apply to use the former residential red zone land for community initiatives.

“We love ideas that connect local communities, involve volunteers and bring people into the regeneration areas, and the red zone transitional land use fund can help bring those ideas to life.”

The Mushroom Room is a Riverlution Collective initiative, which is being driven by the Richmond Community Garden.

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