Category Archives: permaculture

Climate Resilience PDC Internship

Immerse yourself in eco-design for climate resilience on a thriving permaculture farm outside of Whanganui. We take a systems approach to managing the farm holistically to maximise carbon sequestration and minimise carbon emissions.

This PDC focuses on ecological land management, regenerative agriculture, water management, eco-housing, appropriate technology, human-scale approaches and transport along with the full PDC curriculum.

27TH DECEMBER 2021 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. ($750) 

From a recent intern: “I’ve just completed my 2 month PDC at the Eco School and have had an absolutely sensational time. If you want to learn how to become a permaculture home-steader FOR REAL, skip the two weeks of PowerPoint presentations offered elsewhere, and come get fully immersed in the lifestyle. Dani and Nelson have got the art of sustainable living down pat, and both are an absolute gold-mine of knowledge to be tapped. I left knowing how to do everything from preparing and planting garden beds; to raising livestock; milking and cheese-making; harvesting and preserving; butchering, baking (no candle-stick making…); DIY and carpentry. Essentially, we covered in incredible depth the art and science of ecology and land regeneration, as well as all the principles of design and analysis vital to making permaculture work properly. It was like being back at uni, except this time I was learning something useful (and deeply fascinating).”  – Harry

David Holmgren’s Retrosuburbia

RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future

NZ $89 + $9.60 parcel post tracked.

Orders: theecoschool@gmail.com

* Pick-up and purchase available at the PINZ Whanganui Permaculture Hui 10th-13th September

This 592 page manual shows how Australians can downshift and retrofit their homes, gardens, communities and, above all, themselves to be more self-organised, sustainable and resilient into an uncertain future. It promises a challenging but exciting mix of satisfying work, a more meaningful way of living and hope for the next generation.

RetroSuburbia is divided into three main sections: the Built, the Biological and the Behavioural along with the introductory section ‘Setting the scene’.

RetroSuburbia Case Study: Eco Thrifty Retrofit

A presentation at the PINZ Whanganui Permaculture Hui 10th-13th September.

Peace, Estwing

Lucky Seven (Years)

We have reached another anniversary on this piece of land, which is always a good time to reflect on our progress. Samuel Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” We have been very lucky on this patch, but at the same time unlucky – facing a flood, a fire, and land slips. Our primary goal on the farm has been climate resilience so I suppose there is nothing like being put to the test.

Despite the challenges the farm is thriving, although we’ve cut back on growing kai a bit lately due to other commitments. Here are the market gardens at about half of their usual capacity.

Market gardens in mid-winter.

There are only ripe guavas and citrus this time of year, but we had a great plum, peach, feijoa and apple harvest earlier this year.

An orchard in mid-winter.

The valley is looking great, with about 2,000 trees planted on the slopes and along the stream, along with the avocado orchard.

Plantings in the valley.

At the moment we’re busy with the goats kidding and starting the milking season.

Alfie with her twins

Looking forward to more luck tomorrow.

Peace, Estwing

Our Farm is a Dump

A ‘secret admirer’ has commenced trolling us, our organisation and our farm. Like most Trolls, simple facts and accuracy don’t seem to matter. (For some people they never have and never will.) One favourite attack line they use over and over is the farm is a dump and unsafe for children.

On second thought, they might be right.

For example, here is where we dump lots and lots of food scraps, manure and saw dust.

We dump the resulting compost in garden beds to grow healthy kai, such as garlic, which is very dangerous to the local vampire population.

After harvesting the garlic we dump it in a shed to dry.

In fact there are dangerous piles of kai all over our farm.

Here is where we dump our fire wood before dumping the dangerous CO2 emissions into the pristine atmosphere.

Branches and sticks too small for firewood get dumped in piles and covered with earth to build Hugel Mounds, on top of which we dump fruit trees such as peaches, apples, pomegranate, oranges, grape fruit, lemons tangelos, mandarines, feijoas and persimmons.

Note this fresh, organic, healthy kai is very dangerous to children.

More dangerous kai dumped on the farm.

Here is where our rat bag children dump their bikes. Obvious tripping hazard!

For the last six years we have dumped thousands of trees all over our farm.

We usually dump the trees on slip-prone hillsides and eroding stream banks.

Here is another big dump of trees we tend to call our nursery.

Warning: Avocados!

Oh, you should see our sheds! Talk about a dump!

With most of the materials we divert from landfill we build useful items such as milking stands, solar dehydrators, chicken tractors and other animal shelters.

Low budget milking stand
Solar dehydrator
Chook tractor

Some people don’t believe in providing their goats and pigs with shelters but we do.

Made from scraps, the outdoor kitchen is also a complete dump that emits harmful fumes.

In fact our farm is such a dump that it was recently featured in a popular national magazine.

Definitely a DUMP!

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’ 12th September

Sunday, 12th. 1:00 – 5:00

Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’

We’ve put together a list of some of the core components of a permaculture property and arranged a ‘Show & Tell’ walking tour. Topics include: no-dig gardening; potting bench and plant nursery; vertical growing & small spaces; preventing pests and diseases in fruit trees; best tools and how to use them; hot composting; tree lucerne (Tagasaste); chicken tractors; browsing goats; creative reuse in building; outdoor kitchen including solar cooking, rocket stoves, and solar dehydrator. There will also be a discussion of our diverse income streams.

$55 or couples for $90. Includes afternoon tea.

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

Registration and non-refundable deposit essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

Farm Development

Kia ora friends, this is an update primarily for our past interns to show some of the infrastructure improvements we’ve made recently.

In order to comply with our resource consent we’ve added car parks at the top of the drive betwee n the market garden and the orchards. After doing that we decided to shift a shed up there to serve as a farm stand and tool storage closer to the market garden.

Coming down the drive at the bottom of the market garden is the homemade caravan that we built during Lock-Down last year.

Next is my favourite – the ‘Redneck BBQ’ – also building during Lock-Down.

The BBQ is located next to the outdoor dining space beside the house.

Topher is modeling the steps down to the pines that we also built during Lock-Down.

Recently we shifted the fence and gate along the upper farm track so that they are along the property boundary.

Just last week we put up deer netting next to the milking shed we built during Lock-Down so we can more easily manage the goats during milking or for other reasons.

We also shifted another fence line to allow easier access down the lower farm track.

Also last week we extended the wind netting for the avocado orchard in the valley.

Here are Topher and Baby and Luigi on the farm track below the manuka, flax, poplars and tree lucerne we planted five years ago.

Probably a few other things I’ve forgotten but that’ll do for an update. I’ll write a blog about the farm stand once it’s completed.

Addendum: I knew I would forget something(s). Below are the strawberry bed we built for Manu’s Lock-Down Birthday 5th April, 2020, as well as a tree fort I started during Lock-Down but finished last month with Manu’s help.

Peace, Estwing

9th Annual Permaculture Weekend: 11th-12th Sept.

Once again we are running the Whanganui Permaculture Weekend alongside The Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga in cooperation with Adult and Community Education Aotearoa. A draft schedule is below.

POSTPONED – PLEASE WATCH FOR UPDATES

Workshops & Farm Tours

Saturday, 11th. 3:00 – 5:30

Getting the most from your Renovation

This workshop covers all aspects of healthy home performance including windows, doors, ceiling, subfloor, bathrooms, ventilation, high performance curtains & blinds, heating & cooling, and hot water.

$60 Spaces strictly limited.

Overnight Accommodation Available. Please Inquire.

Sunday, 12th. 10:00 – 12:00

Growing Great Garlic, Terrific Tomatoes and Perfect Pumpkins

This workshop covers innovative ways to grow these staple crops with less effort and better results!

$30

Sunday, 12th. 1:00 – 5:00

Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’

We’ve put together a list of some of the core components of a permaculture property and arranged a ‘Show & Tell’ walking tour. Topics include: no-dig gardening; potting bench and plant nursery; vertical growing & small spaces; preventing pests and diseases in fruit trees; best tools and how to use them; hot composting; compost toilets; tree lucerne (Tagasaste); chicken tractors; browsing goats; creative reuse in building; outdoor kitchen including solar cooking, rocket stoves, and solar dehydrator. There will also be a discussion of our diverse income streams.

$55 or couples for $90. Includes afternoon tea.

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

Registration and non-refundable deposit essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

RetroSuburbia: A Whanganui Case Study

What are the best strategies to renovate an old home and an old section? This workshop covers the do’s and don’ts for home renovations as well as edible ‘foodscaping’ on suburban sections.

$40 or couples for $70

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

Registration and non-refundable deposit essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

The Resilient Farm Tour: 24th April

On Kaitiaki Farm we’ve spent the last six years developing strategies to ‘climate proof’ our farm against the extremes of both drought and flood. These include: protecting slopes; planting the riparian corridor; wetland restoration; soil improvement; integrated plant/animal systems; multiple approaches to water management; diverse income streams; and more. 

Because of a diversity of land forms, slope aspects and micro-climates Kaitiaki Farm is an ideal place to learn many different and holistic approaches to land management. It is a walk-through textbook in permaculture.

24th April, 1-5pm. $60 or couples for $100

Followed by a permaculture design presentation by our PDC Intern and a shared meal.

Registration essential: theecoschool@gmail.com

Tutor: Nelson Lebo has been practicing permaculture for over 20 years.

Act Locally – share globally

2021 is shaping up to be a good year for The ECO School and Kaitiaki Farm. We’ve always believed in sharing our work widely through hundreds of blog posts and making our programmes affordable.

In addition, we’ve often received good media attention and early 2021 is no exception; including two mini-docs about some of our programmes (see links below) as well as a cover story in NZ Lifestyle Block.

Better Ancestors series Episode 2: A Better Way to Educate – The ECO School part 1

Better Ancestors series Episode 3: Can Permaculture Thinking Save Our Future – The ECO School part 2

For anyone interested in learning more about our offerings we have a full schedule of programmes for 2021: https://ecothriftylife.com/2020/12/22/2021-workshop-schedule/

Kia Kaha, Estwing

The Resilient Farm Tour 24th April

Extremes of climate put pressure on farmers and food production worldwide that is only expected to increase.

On Kaitiaki Farm we’ve spent the last six years developing strategies to ‘climate proof’ our farm against the extremes of both drought and flood. These include: protecting slopes; planting the riparian corridor; wetland restoration; soil improvement; multiple approaches to water management; diverse income streams; and more.

Because of a diversity of land forms, slope aspects and micro-climates Kaitiaki Farm is an ideal place to learn many different and holistic approaches to land management. It is a walk-through textbook in permaculture.

24th April, 1-5pm. $65

Registration essential: theecoschool@gmail.com

Kaitiaki Farm is a  5.1 hectare (13 acre) property located 4 km outside Whanganui, New Zealand. We operate as a mixed-use operation leveraging niche markets for annual crops, perennial crops, nursery trees and animals. 

Our primary interests lie in holistic land management, regenerative agriculture, market gardening, appropriate technology, renewable energy and human-scale solutions, as well as home building and renovation.