How Weed Walker John Massey is connecting people with plants + video

Where many see weeds, John sees food, medicine, and compost.

Meet weed walker John Massey 

Ever gazed at the weeds in your garden in dismay thinking: “I cannot be bothered to pull those out.” Here’s your excuse.

John Massey is an organic gardener, former community organic gardens manager and plant enthusiast. One walk with him and you’ll look at weeds through fresh eyes. 

John’s been studying herbs for 40 years, including at the California School of Herbal Studies.

“In this modern age, I think that people have kind of lost some of those stories that used to be passed on from grandmother or grandfather down to their grandchildren. That seems to be my role, to tell the stories about plants,” says John.

He loves bridging the gap between plants that many ignore or even dislike, and people. 

“I find that people have a negative attitude to [some] plants. They hate them, with a vengeance. You know, plants like dock or couch grass, so-named invasive weeds. Yet they have so much vigour and are so strong they keep thriving. All plants have redeeming qualities, just like people. These plants that we hate so much, they’ve got a really strong life force and it kind of makes sense to tap into that life force by eating them, using them in some way or making compost with them.”

John takes people on ‘weed walks’ around the top of the South Island. His next weed walk in Golden Bay is Saturday 4 September at the Sustainable Living Centre.

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