The Free PDC: Permaculture Design Certificate

Is it possible that the best permaculture learning experience is also the most affordable? Absolutely.

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We awarded our first ever PDC qualifications yesterday afternoon after Rikke and Liz presented their amazing projects.

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Here is a look at the designs each of them did for their respective parents’ properties in Denmark and rural Illinois (USA).

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Rikke’s family farm in Denmark

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Liz’s parents’ ‘retirement’ property in Illinois

Both young women have been living and working with us for the summer growing season as part of our internship programme on Kaitiaki Farm. We have hosted 16 interns over the last two and a half years as we transform the worn out horse property into an exemplar permaculture farm. Interns have stayed for eight to 16 weeks.

Rikke arrived just in time for the garlic harvest in December when Oliver and James were still here.

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Liz arrived in early January. Here is a look at their classroom.

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Yesterday was a landmark day for us as we took another step in realising our vision of providing outstanding educational experiences affordably. Liz and Rikke paid nothing for their PDC – a course that usually costs $2,000 to $2,400 in New Zealand. Granted, they ‘paid’ for the course with their efforts on the farm, but that is also the best kind of learning – and endless series of ‘teachable moments’ and design discussions in a real-world context.

We are proud of their accomplishments this summer.

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While we cannot continue to offer a free PDC, now that the pilot work-study PDC is complete we are ready for the next intake of interns starting…tonight. We will continue to offer affordable top-notch education, just not for naught.

But for now, these two young women can boast of something extraordinary.

Peace, Estwing

Late Summer Permaculture Update

Sorry we have not posted a ‘permaculture update’ in ages. We’ve been busy with our great interns plus this is the busiest time of year for fruit and vegetable production.

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As always, our summer crops focus on tomatoes and squash/pumpkin.

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Lots of Black Boy peaches and Monty’s Surprise apples.

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The yakon we planted is going well.

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The first Jerusalem Artichoke are flowering.

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After pruning, the avocados are showing new growth.

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We’ve got trays and trays of tagasaste going.

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On the animal front, the flock of muscovies has grown dramatically with over one hundred ducklings hatched.

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We have a Billy now so we hope to have kids in five to six months time.

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And appears we may have piglets any day.

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Peace, Estwing

Solar Power: When, How and Where is it Right for You?

Passive solar home design is always a good idea, but if you’re not building or renovating what are the best choices for using solar energy at home?

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We are offering a pair of workshops on solar power both low-tech and high-tech.

Sunday, 26th March 2017

Whanganui, New Zealand

Workshop 1) Solar and Alternative Cooking for Fun or Emergency.

Emergency preparedness is just as important as day-to-day sustainable living in a volatile world where power outages are possible without warning. We will cover a variety of solar cookers, rocket stoves, and ‘the best solar dehydrator’ design. 4-5 pm. $10

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Workshop 2) Solar Electricity and Solar Hot Water: Making informed investment decisions.

There is a lot of hype and misinformation when it comes to domestic solar energy. The bottom line is that it may not be a sound economic investment for most NZ households. Find out if and how it may be right for you? 5-6 pm. $20

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Space is limited. Preregistration essential. theecoschool at gmail dot com.

Peace Estwing

Selling a Dream: Outstanding Permaculture Property

Could this be the best value permaculture property in New Zealand?

Lovingly renovated seaside villa combines old and new to achieve a sunny, warm, dry and comfortable home while retaining distinctive retro character.

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Over the three years we lived here our power bills averaged $26 per month while running a refrigerator, freezer, washer, hob, jug, wifi, etc, and enjoying abundant hot water.

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Much of the interior features native hardwood built-ins such as this three and a half metre rimu shelf unit.

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And this bespoke totara and rimu vanity.

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The kitchen features hardwood shelving with antique lead light doors and vintage light shades, along with a new Tasmanian oak floor and cosy old school Shacklock cooker.

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With great indoor/outdoor flow, the living spaces are bright and airy throughout the day.

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A pizza oven and vege gardens are just outside the French doors.

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The private back yard is lined with fruit trees and natives while retaining enough lawn for a play.

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Over 30 productive fruit trees fill the 700 square metre section.

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Grapes and Jerusalem artichoke fill the spaces in between.

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New roof, new cladding, insulation and solar hot water are among the features of this highly resilient home.

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This property has been featured by the national and international media and represents a gold standard in suburban permaculture. The renovation is the only case study outside of Australia to be included in David Holmgren’s current project: RetroSuburbia.

All of this can be yours for 85% less than the average bog standard Auckland home.

Enquiries through the blog’s home page. Or comment.

Peace, Estwing