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Permaculture Farm Internship

Earn a Permaculture Design Certificate on one of New Zealand’s best permaculture farms.

Our programme is unique in the world of permaculture in that it combines best practice teaching and learning along with best practice regenerative land management.

The programme balances content, process and reflection, while nurturing systems thinking skills. It’s about developing a way of thinking that recognizes the connections between diverse elements on the farm and how they interact, along with the hands-on skills required to work effectively with cultivated ecologies.

3RD JANUARY, 2023 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. $850
CLIMATE RESILIENCE PDC
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN ECO-DESIGN FOR CLIMATE RESILIENCE – WORKING WITH NATURE INSTEAD OF AGAINST IT. THIS PDC FOCUSES ON ECOLOGICAL LAND MANAGEMENT, REGENERATIVE FARMING, WATER MANAGEMENT, ECO HOUSING, APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY, HUMAN-SCALE APPROACHES,AND TRANSPORT ALONG WITH THE FULL PDC CURRICULUM. 

7TH MARCH, 2023 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. $850 
ABUNDANCE PDC
AUTUMN IS A GREAT TIME TO BE ON THE FARM WITH HEAPS OF FRESH KAI FROM THE ORCHARD, GARDENS AND ANIMALS. THIS PDC FOCUSES ON GROWING, PROCESSING AND PRESERVING KAI ALONG WITH ANIMAL CARE, BUSH RESTORATION, AND SOME ECO-BUILDING PROJECTS. 

Free Programmes @ the ECO School

We’re excited to be working with Horizons Regional Council and the Whanganui Learning Centre to develop a programme based around community climate resilience in the areas of whare, whenua, and whanau.

2022-2023 Schedule

Free for residents of the Horizons region.
Spaces limited. Register: theecoschool@gmail.com


Stormwater without the Mansplaining
24th August, 5:30-7:30 pm
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St. Masks Required. 
Do you have a damp home? Occasional flooding on your section? Pooling under your home?
This programme explains the ins and outs of stormwater and the various factors effecting it, as well as how it impacts on individual households and how residents can address it affordably and effectively.

Managing Marginal Land in/for Winter
August 28, 2-4 pm. Registration essential.
We’ve spent the last 8 years managing our land for too much and too little water. It’s in great shape and we’re opening the farm gate for a tour.

Healthy Homes for Healthcare & Social Workers

September 27. Whanganui Regional Health Network

Register with Angela Weekly at the Whanganui Regional Health Network.

Holistic Land Management– Tour
October 16th, 9:30 – 12:30 am. Registration essential.
Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Climate Camp for Teens
29-30 October
Kaitiaki Farm, Okoia, Whanganui
Open to teens from the entire Horizons Region. 
Supporting and empowering teens in the face of increasing extreme weather events caused by human-induced climate change. 
More information to follow. 

Family Climate Fair
13 November
Whanganui Intermediate School Hall
Empowering families to support one another to embrace more sustainable and resilient lifestyles. 
Activities, information tables, kai, speakers, bike repair, games, toy & clothing swap, bulk buying network & more

Family meet-up: Kowhai Park Fun & Games
December 10th
A relaxed family-friendly alternative to the “silly season.” Bike repair tools will be on site. 

Family meet-up: Bike to the Beach
January TBD
Two-wheeled hikoi from the city bridge to Castlecliff Beach supporting families embracing bicycling as a form of transportation. Then a big play day in the sand!

Family meet-up
February TBD

Love Your Land Day
16 February, 10 – 2:30. Registration essential.
Come along for a farm tour and speakers. BYO Lunch. 
Topics include: holistic land management; regenerative agriculture; riparian corridors; bush restoration; growing browse for stock; carbon credits; more

The Low-Carbon – High Efficiency – Affordable Home
February TBD. Registration essential.
This workshop helps demystify the home-building process for climate resilience and affordability. Topics include passive solar design, super-insulation, high performance windows, and where to claw back cost savings. 

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com
Kia Kaha!

Hedge Against Inflation

We’ve been practicing a form of permaculture we call “Eco-Thrifty” at our two homes in Whanganui for well over a decade. When we started our first blog in 2010 we thought the idea would catch on. It didn’t.

Twelve years later we are still at it and are reaping the harvests of avoiding the inevitable price rises in food and energy. Despite heading into winter and some seriously crazy weather, our farm is thriving and producing plenty of healthy kai while resisting the ravages of climate change.

Here is a visual update from yesterday.

Jerusalem artichoke off just two plants among hundreds.
Guavas tart and full of vitamin C to stay healthy.
Persimmons – my favourite!
Plenty of leafy greens.
These are apples in storage.
More vitamin-C-on-a-tree
Plenty of avocado trees laden with fruit.
Speaking of trees, here are some natives along with tree lucerne in a corner of our nursery.
Planted a few hundred garlic yesterday.
Found this little girl first thing yesterday morning.
Watched this kid being born yesterday afternoon.
And still had time for yoga.

Not bad for a blustery Sunday in June.

Peace, Estwing

Read All About It

Over the last few years I’ve been blogging less and writing for publication more. Below are some of those articles about our holistic approach for farming and home renovation that are available online:

https://www.buildmagazine.org.nz/articles/show/from-tent-to-toasty-home

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon: Farm Tour of Gardens, Intensive Orchards, & Farm Buildings (Permaculture Zones 1-2). Includes integrating farm foul into fruit & veg production and what are the best tools to use for low-input/high performance systems.

Sunday morning: Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Sunday afternoon: Eco Design/Build for Sleep Outs, Tiny Homes, Minor Dwellings. Includes passive solar design, ‘super-wall’, retrofit double-glazing, building code changes, wastewater compliance, compost toilets.

Choose any combination: $50 each or $130 for all. (Couples $240)

Meals and accommodation also available – please enquire.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Abundance @ Kaitiaki Farm

We are into a spectacular spring with the entire farm thriving: goats, pigs, garlic beds, vege gardens, the orchards, olives, avocados, native plantings, etc. A combination of rain in October and sun in November has set photosynthesis to full throttle. Below are some images of the thriving kai and landscapes here on Kaitiaki Farm.

Garlic
Avocados
Piglets
Planting Olives in 2017 (Before)
Olive Trees in 2021 (After)
Wetland in 2016 (Before)
Wetland in 2021 (After)
Cuddling a newborn goat
Goat’s Milk

We can hardly keep up with the milking and cheese-making.

Fried Halloumi

Tomatoes and Corgettes in the Ground
Duckling Season
Strawberry Bed
Feijoas in Flower
Avocado Orchard with Tagasaste Nurse Trees

Amazing how working with nature instead of against it give such amazing results!

Peace, Estwing

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 – both building and retrofit, appropriate technology, human-scale approaches and transport along with the full PDC curriculum.

5th January 2022 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. ($700) 

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

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

Home & Garden PDC Internship

This is a unique opportunity to dive into the core aspects of a permaculture lifestyle: a roof over your head and kai in your belly!

While covering the usual PDC curriculum, this hands-on and farm-based PDC will focus on building a sleep out and managing an organic vegetable garden. These practical skills are invaluable for anyone considering a resilient and sustainable lifestyle; anyone thinking about a “Tiny Home”; anyone seeking experience in growing food and caring for animals.

Other topics include: composting toilets, grey water, retrofit double-glazing, etc.

Start Date: 14th September

Duration: 8 weeks

Cost: $700

Contact: theecoschool@gmail.com

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