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Urban Food Commons

Part of: Happen Films
Fiscal Host: Gift Collective

Creating community resilience from within the community


Building food sovereignty and community resilience
– A short film by Happen Films  (film title to come)

Showcasing the work of the wonderful people of Roimata Food Commons in Aotearoa New Zealand, this film will explore how an initiative taking place in a public park is building food sovereignty and community resilience in the city of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Why this film? 

Resilience is going to be critical in the years and decades ahead, as we face humanity's many social, climate, and financial challenges. 
Years spent researching and making inspiring films for change has convinced us that community resilience has a vital part to play in our future. And after nearly two years following the goings-on at Roimata, we’re excited to have the opportunity to make this film! 
What does community resilience look like? It's happening at Roimata Food Commons, and we can't wait to show you.

What's the story? 

“A community space to nurture the health and wellbeing of our community and the ecosystem in which it is situated.”
– Michael Reynolds, Roimata Food Commons co-founder 
This beautiful project shows how community food resilience can be generated in commons spaces with joint community effort. In the film, we'll explore: 
  • what it's taken to achieve community resilience, 
  • the challenges in obtaining funding, 
  • why community commons like Roimata are so important, 
  • and how similar commons spaces might be created in our own communities.
We'll also shine the spotlight on Roimata's co-founder and main driver, Michael Reynolds – an immensely passionate solo dad who’s given his all to this project. Pursuing round after round of funding to keep Roimata alive, Michael is a local hero and it's about time the world heard his story!

Why support this film?

This film will inspire people all over the world to take a fresh look at their local spaces and consider how they too might contribute to reinventing the Commons.

We want our audience to feel so inspired after watching this film that they come away eager to get started. And like most of our films, this one will be made available free to view on YouTube to maximise the number of people it reaches.

We're also considering what kind of resource kit we might co-create with Michael to help support the emergence of similar projects across the globe – now that’s an exciting prospect!

What difference will your contribution make?

Your financial contribution will make it possible for Happen Films to create a high-quality, engaging, super-shareable film that can be offered free to the world.

And if we're able to source funding over and above the cost of producing the film (see budget details below), we'll use the surplus to create a resource kit that will help people take their first steps in recreating the Commons. This could include: 
  • how to work with councils, 
  • how to write great funding applications, 
  • where to start with site, community, and creating intention,
  • and everything else Michael and his team have to share from their experiences. 
Let's make the Commons the globally common phenomenon it once was!

How and when will it be produced?

Production details
As with all of our short films, this will be a low-budget, small-crew, short-time-frame production. We'll keep costs to a minimum, made easier than usual because we'll be filming close to home. As always, our crew will be paid standard industry rates, and the production will be low to zero waste.
Time frames
Filming will take place in early 2022.
Post-production (editing, sound mix, colour grade etc.) will begin once funding is secured.
Release will depend on securing funding – our hope is to release in early 2022.

Production – director, producer, writers, sound recordist: $8000 NZD.
Post-production – transcription services, editor, colourist, royalty-free music, sound mixer: $4000 NZD.
Production overheads – travel, food, insurance, gear hire, contingency: $3000 NZD.
Total: $15,000 NZD

Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand.

This film will be uploaded free to view on YouTube as soon as production is completed, promoted through our social media channels, and hosted on the Happen Films website.

Want to know more?

A short history of Roimata Food Commons
Imagine what our cities would look like if all our parks were returned to being Commons areas, places where the community gathers to plant and harvest, to share and educate, to rejoice and celebrate together.

For decades, Radley Park, in the low-socioeconomic suburb of Woolston, was just an enormous grass expanse with a path running through it and a small children's playground. As with all city council parks it was a huge financial burden – mowing, spraying, maintenance and upkeep – yet the park was massively under-used.

Today, much of the grass has been replaced with a food forest, vegetable gardens, compost bays, worm farms, seating areas, a living willow shelter, and hügelkultur beds. During the week, working bees bring the community together and on weekends there are workshops, yoga classes and events like Friday Night Feed and Outside Movie Night. Locals come to harvest silverbeet and rhubarb, broccoli and raspberries. Apples, peaches, and plums are more abundant every year as the food forest matures.

The council has agreed to halt chemical spraying at the park and has reduced mowing of the grounds so that the gardens can expand. It’s a massive reduction in their overhead costs and, without the spraying, is making the park safer for the community.


Become a financial contributor.

Financial Contributions


Make a one-time contribution to the production costs of this film.

$9,825.91 NZD of $15,000 NZD raised (66%)

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Today’s balance

$9,036.31 NZD

Total raised

$9,036.31 NZD

Total disbursed

--.-- NZD