Eco-Thrifty Permaculture Tour April 16th & 17th

This could be the best value for money in all of New Zealand in the area of permaculture education. Sign up soon. Spaces are filling.

Five excellent, but very different permaculture properties in and around Whanganui.

When: 16th April 2 pm to 17th April 5:30 pm

Price: $100 with your own transportation. $140 with transportation provided. Includes dinner on the 16th and breakfast on the 17th. Please provide your own lunch. Price does not include accommodation. See below for information on accommodation and transport from Turangi to Wanganui.

Minimum number for participants: 10 . Maximum number for participants: 20

Registration required before 9th April with 50% deposit (20% non-refundable).

Contact: The ECO School, 06 344 5013; 022 635 0868;

Each site is described below in the host’s own words.

Monday, 16th April 2 pm Mt. St. Joseph Retreat Centre

The property has a diversity of uses – a residence for three sisters plus the administration centre, a Retreat Centre, Archives, Hospitality area and a 45 bed Rest Home.

Interconnectedness, relationality, kinship and care are key words permeating our spirituality and our practice. Our vision is for “Fullness of Life for the Earth and her Peoples.”

We endeavour to be bicultural and support the aspirations of the tangata whanua.

The original Peat family homestead gardens have been added to over the years with a mix of surrounding shelter-belt edges, big native trees (totara, rimu, rata, kowhai) and some big exotic trees (redwood, pinus radiata, macracarpa). The southern steep hill is covered with regenerating bush. The eastern hillside is currently being developed as a rather extensive orchard and garden with planned for bird and bee forages. The western hill and valley is being restored as a small wetland. Walking tracks for the public and new native trees are being planted on the adjacent hill.

4:30 pm The Quaker Settlement, 76 Virginia Road, Whanganui.

This is the only intentional Quaker community in the Southern Hemisphere, now 36 years old. Sixteen households encircle the community buildings which are also used as a conference centre by diverse groups locally and nationally. The community of about 30 including children, care for the centre,and run an annual Quaker seminar programme, all on a voluntary basis. As a community we endeavour to recognise the diversity of life, its interdependence and balance, including our relationship with the environment. Much of the land was blown sand dunes which over time is developing into a treed landscape with native tree plantings, a Harakeke (flax) collection, orchards, sheep, chickens and ducks, and community as well as individual vegetable gardens.

Link about Quakers, and the Seminar Programme:

Tuesday 17th April 9:30 am David Aislabie

A network of different timber, nut and fruit trees with native shelter belts creates a mosaic pattern of highly productive “clearings”on this 6 hectare permaculture property. North facing slopes are terraced into permanent raised beds and clover paths (swales) growing a diverse rotation of certified organic vegetables and subtropicals (mainly tamarillos), irrigated via a windmill from runoff stored in 2 large ponds. Soil improvement features green manures and up to 50 tons of compost per year, made in straw yards where pigs and cattle graze.

Note: David took an early permaculture course in NZ and continued his market gardening with a new focus after that. It is one of the best established properties based on permaculture design.

1 pm Mark Christiansen

A 5 acre (2.2 hectare) property developed with a mixture of permaculture, organic and biodynamic principles. Begun 14 years ago as an edible landscape, it developed into a collection of heritage fruit trees, and then progressed into heirloom tomatoes and beans and other vegetables. A focus is on finding out what grows successfully in this area as well as on medicinal/nutritional qualities. Among the collection is the Monty’s Surprise apple, believed to be the best apple in the world for human health.

3:30 pm The Eco-Thrifty Renovation, Nelson & Dani Lebo

An abandoned, derelict villa on a section full of rubbish and weeds has been transformed into an energy-efficient home and fully installed permaculture landscape on 700 square metres in the 12 months ending November 2011. The energy performance of the renovated villa has been outstanding, and the food production (on pure sand) has exceeded expectations. The total budget for the project including purchase of the property, retrofitting and landscaping was under $100,000.

Additional Information:

Dinner, optional overnight accommodation and breakfast at the Quaker Settlement. Book you own accommodation:

Getting to Whanganui:

Intercity Bus transport from Turangi to Wanganui

Book early through

Sunday, 15th April: Departs 3:15 pm and arrives 7:30 pm. Hotels and backpackers within walking distance of bus depot for overnight accommodation. Book through BBH or YHA.

OR (Better)

Monday, 16th April: Departs 10:45 am and arrives 2 pm. We will pick you up and take you to the first site visit and onto the accommodation venue. We will take you back to the bus depot or nearest accommodation at the conclusion of the tour. Please note there is an extra $40 fee when transport is provided.

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