Grow My Kai

Helping more Aucklanders get started to grow their own kai.

Grow My Kai is our response to the issues of local food security and resilience highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community garden, nursery and composting experts have helped grow thousands of vegetable seedlings so more Aucklanders can get started growing their own simple, healthy kai. We’re now working with community partners, including VisionWest and Family Action, to get the seedlings to households they support.

 Cooking Leafy greens


Want some seedlings to start growing your own kai? Know someone who would appreciate support to get started? Or would you like to support this initiative in some way? Find out more here.


Want more advice on how to grow and care for seedlings you’ve received? Or ideas about other ways to grow your own food cheaply, and where to learn and connect with other people who grow their own kai? Find out more here.


Want to know how to harvest, prepare and enjoy what you’ve grown, once they’re ready to eat? Or other places to find ideas on simple, healthy and inexpensive meal ideas? Find out more here.


Want to know more? Email




I’d like some seedlings please

If you or someone you know would like to try growing your own kai, we have seedlings available to share with West Auckland households. Please get in touch.

I want to support this initiative

You can buy seedlings from us, with proceeds going to help more West Auckland families grow their own kai. We have leafy green vegetables, including mizuna, kale, pak choi, silver beet, spinach, sorrel, mustard leaf and lettuce available to buy from the EcoMatters Store or Te Puna Market’s click and collect service.

If you have unwanted, excess plant pots, seeds or seedlings, we may be able to use these. Please get in touch.

We also welcome any direct donations to help support this initiative, so we can buy, grow and distribute more seedlings.



How do I grow the kai I have?

How do I grow more kai?You can grow leafy greens outside or inside, in a sunny spot. In cooler weather, your plants will probably grow faster indoors.

Water your plants whenever the soil starts to dry out.

Our Grow My Kai pots include a mix of different leafy green vegetables growing close together. It’s fine to leave them to grow in the pot they came in.

But if you can move the plants into bigger separate pots or a garden, they will have more space to grow and you can get more kai from them.

To move the plants, carefully dig out each one, trying to get all the roots, then plant them into the soil in a garden or another pot filled with soil.

How can I grow more kai?

You don’t need to buy lots of new things to get started growing your own kai.  

You can often get pots for free by asking on your community Facebook page or in online gardening groups. Some garden centres, including Kings Plant Barn, have plastic pot recycling stations outside, where anyone can help themselves to spare pots other people have donated.

Sometimes people grow too many seedlings and give them away on community Facebook pages or online gardening groups too. You can also grow some kai from vegetables you have bought or already have. Search ‘grow vegetables from scraps’ on the internet for lots of ideas on how to get started.

Local op shops often have cheap gardening tools and pots too.

Where can I learn more about growing my own kai?

Join Meg, our community garden coordinator, at her Dig Grow Learn organic garden sessions, each Friday from 11am – 2pm at EcoMatters Environment Trust in New Lynn. Please email Meg to RSVP.

West Auckland Gardeners Facebook Group – a place for West Aucklanders to share stories, advice and suggestions and swap seeds, seedlings and cuttings.

NZ Gardening on a Budget Facebook Group – a place to help those on a tight budget learn to grow, cook, preserve and store the food we have.

NZ Gardener Get Growing is a weekly email you can sign up for, to receive tips and advice for growing vegetables and fruit at home. 

Compost Collective offers free workshops and online advice about turning food scraps into food for your plants. Find out when the next workshop is here and other resources and ideas here, including DIY compost systems and compost factsheets in 10 languages.

ShareWaste helps connect people with food scraps to those who want them for their own backyard compost or chickens. Keeping food scraps out of your rubbish bin helps reduce the cost of rubbish collection and keeps your bin clean and dry. 

Para Kore helps people learn about reducing their waste. They have some short videos sharing tips for growing food and composting food scraps.

Organic Edible Garden helps people grow their own vegetables and fruit with a number of videos to help you get started and new webisodes uploaded every Friday. Check out their handy list of community gardens and farmers’ markets where you can buy locally-grown produce and sell excess of your own. Sign up to their newsletter here.



Get EatingWith leafy greens, you can just cut off the leaves you want to use and leave the plant to keep growing. Just make sure you don’t harvest more than half the leaves at a time. Remember to wash leafy greens before you eat or cook them.

Here’s our super simple guide to caring for and using your leafy greens.

Love Food Hate Waste has lots of storage, preparation and cooking ideas for all sorts of food. Here’s some ideas for using leafy greens.

Easy Choice – Family Kai is a free seasonal meal planner and recipe book which helps people shop for, cook and eat nourishing and affordable food.



If you’ve got questions or ideas about other resources we can share to help more people grow their own kai we’d love to hear from you. Please email