The Whangateau Community Earth Ovens Project began at Caretaker Farm in Whangateau, North Auckland in 2011 with the arrival of French Baker and earth oven builder Fabrice Gendron.
Fabrice cleared the site and then returned again in 2012 to begin the building of the first earth oven for cooking
Audrey's nephew Adrian discovered red clay right next to the oven site and that was enough to solidify the concept into reality. We started with a fire and singing. This cooked the clay and then the earth oven building began in earnest and has continued through to now.
Unfortunately the only "community" prepared to work on the project have been willing workers on organic farms who come to work on our farm in exchange for accommodation and food so they are not really volunteers and then some family and friends.
Those who have worked on the construction of the now 3 earth ovens that have been started on the farm have learnt many interesting skills. Some of the people have given much time and energy to their work on this project and others have just passed through taking more time and energy from us than they have given.
The large cooking oven that we first began building is now at the stage of needing a true commitment by people to work on it as we are needing to do all the technical work involving the building of the door and construction of the next level within the oven. The wet winter of 2016 meant that no work was able to be done and the oven walls require repair. If there had been money for a roof to cover the oven this would have not been a problem but the tent that was covering the construction for over 3 years finally collapsed with repeated storm events.
The second earth oven which began construction two years ago was to be a pottery oven. Energy was put into digging out the three holes and building one inner wall-unfortunately the rain of 2016 has caused one side to collapse inwards on this earth oven.
In mid 2015 thanks to a 4 month commitment by Isac from one of the French Islands off Africa he and Fabrice built the small baby earth oven in the top house on the farm. This oven kept Audrey and Fabrice warm over the winter of 2016 and can be used for cooking inside and on top.
So where are we at today October 2016. The baby earth oven is finished and working, the mother earth pottery oven has collapsed walls and needs repair and finishing. The father earth cooking oven needs some superficial repair and finishing.