Grow Inspired, based on Waiheke Island, Auckland, offers expertise in growing food gardens, organic practices, composting, worm farms and garden transformations, including landscaping.

Founder of Grow Inspired, Claire Mummery is one of New Zealand’s foremost pioneers in sustainable living, nutrient-rich food production and large-scale organic garden development. Claire is endorsed by ZingBokashi and EMNZ, and her extensive experience in organic practices, sustainability and permaculture now spans three decades.

Claire’s passion for ‘The Good Life’ has fuelled her career, and most of her unrivalled expertise has grown from her own hard work, curiosity and self-education.

Originally from the UK, Claire travelled to New Zealand and Australia more than 30 years ago and first fell in love with gardens and the beautiful outdoors during a position as a farmhand in Whangapoua.

A turning point that would change the direction of her career forever came in 2001, when she secured funding from Wellington’s Community Employment Group to single-handedly conduct a feasibility study on an acre of land. Her aim was to develop the land from seed to zero waste and she was highly commended for the resulting report she produced over a year, demonstrating that sustainability is achievable on a larger scale.

After obtaining a Diploma in Permaculture and relocating to Waiheke Island, Claire was once again called-upon to demonstrate the potential of sustainability when she was employed by Waiheke’s Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) project. Claire developed and managed an acre of land where she trialled nutrient-dense fertilisers and soil restoration. Putting her feasibility study into practice, Claire grew more than four tonnes of food over two years, supplying and distributing weekly food boxes to 25 homes across the island.

Claire then sought the opportunity to test her practices on a commercial scale and held the position of Head Gardener at Poderi Crisci vineyard on Waiheke Island for three years. Here, Claire implemented Bokashi composting and demonstrated its significant impact in changing the soil structure from a sandy manganese to a nutrient-rich water-retaining soil. After developing fertile soils, she was tasked with growing Italian vegetables and flowers to supply the restaurant, establishing gardens suitable for weddings and hosting public workshops.

For a further two years, Claire tested the results of large-scale sustainability and food production during a role as Garden Manager at Cable Bay Vineyards. She established extensive food gardens to supply their two busy restaurants, once again creating 100% of the soil using the Bokashi composting technique. The impressive results of her work here were used as a case study by ZingBokashi for the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards, achieving a Commendation in the Restorative Impact category.

Claire was also integral in implementing a zero waste policy at Cable Bay Vineyards to process food scraps from the restaurants and grape marque from the vineyards into compost, along with cardboard and paper in the worm farms.

Throughout her career, Claire has worked with an extensive list of private clients, as well as local and regional councils and trusts, landscaping and creating food gardens. As a pioneer in her field, she continues to trial and document her results for scientific research on using innovative practices, such as the use of EM on seeds, in the gardens and on livestock, and the growth and improvement of soil structure using Bokashi on a large scale.

Claire’s specialisms include composting, worm farms, garden transformations, organic practices, and growing nutrient-dense food. She is renowned for her excellent vision in being able to clearly visualise the true beauty of what a garden can become with a little bit of hard work.

Keen to share her knowledge, Claire has been coaching for five years alongside her existing work commitments, offering day and evening courses for beginner and intermediate levels in food growing, Bokashi and composting systems.

Claire now shares her time between projects with private clients, attending speaking engagements, hosting workshops and distributing an organic range of products that she believes in – find out more.

Pictures featured courtesy of the New Zealand Herald’s Viva Magazine, taken by Babiche Martens and are subject to copyright.