Tag Archives: featured

Passive Solar Design: Free Heat in Winter

Six years ago New Zealand experienced the coldest week in recorded history, but our recently finished passive solar villa performed perfectly during the cold snap. Even with single-glazing in much of our home, it stayed warm during the frigid week without using any heat source other than the sun. (Of course the curtains and blinds did their job at night.)

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Here is a blog post I wrote six years ago today that explains the great result:

http://ecothriftydoup.blogspot.co.nz/2011/08/power-of-sun.html

Here is a blog post written a month later that explains how and why the sun can be used to heat a home in winter for free.

http://ecothriftydoup.blogspot.co.nz/2011/10/sunrise-sunset.html

 

Peace, Estwing

5th Annual Permaculture Weekend

“If you build it, they will come.” That’s the story behind the Whanganui Permaculture Weekend – a grass roots, dirt-under-your-fingernails, no nonsense event for anyone serious about realistic solutions for a troubled world. This is one place that Whanganui punches above it’s weight – we have some of the best permaculturists and educators in the nation.

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The 5th annual event features at least four workshops lead by Whanganui locals who are the top of their field in New Zealand. Yet despite this expertise we offer all the programmes at affordable rates so that anyone can participate. This is most likely the best value weekend of learning you’ll find anywhere in the country.

And we’re doing our best to make the event child-friendly this year, with a number of great workshops focused on children, including Rope Making and Rourou Making, Outdoor Classrooms, and an up-close-with-farm-animals BBQ on Saturday night.

Please see the nearly-complete draft schedule below.

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Permaculture Weekend 2017

9th-10th September

Saturday, 9th Sept.

9-12 Tools for a Resilient Household: permaculture calendars, broad forks, solar ovens, rocket stoves, permaculture books, and stirrup hoes. REBS Stall, River Market

9:30-11:00 Tour of wetland and hillsides post slips. Mount St. Joseph. Noelene Landrigan

11-1 Rope Making and Rourou Making, Tracey Young, River Market. Donation

11:30 – 12:30 UCOL courses: Bee Keeping and Organic Gardening. Richard Pedley, Jake Schultz. UCOL Complex, Taupo Quay. Free

1-4 (TBC) “Intro to the Community Game” Laurence Boomert. TBD

1:30-3:30 Suburban Permaculture Property Tour. 106 Matai St. Phil Holden. By Donation.

2-3 Backyard Chickens. Cyd Welsh & Nelson Lebo $10

3-4 DIY Chicken Tractors Kits. Flat packs for sale – $70

4-5 pm Hot Composting for Serious Gardeners. Nelson Lebo. Free

5:30-7:00 pm Shared Meal BBQ. Kaitiaki Farm

 

Overnight accommodation available

 

Sunday, 10th Sept.

9:30 – 12:30 Kaitiaki Farm Tour. Nelson Lebo. $25

1-4 Fruit Tree and Vine Care. Murray Jones. $20

1:30-3:30 Outdoor Classrooms for Children. Dani Lebo. By Donation

2-4 Seed Swap. Whanganui Seed Savers. By Donation

3:30 – 5:00 Tree Planting. Kaitiaki Farm. Free

Three Years on the Land

After three years of good design and hard work, we have transformed a worn out horse property into one of New Zealand’s premier permaculture farms. Significantly, we have done this on a tiny budget and with no heavy equipment or contractors. A massive thanks goes out to our fantastic interns who have come from over a dozen countries to help with the ‘human-scale’ transformation of the land.

Kaitiaki Farm has a bit of everything permaculture: organic market gardens; perennial orchards; swales and ponds; tractored poultry; alternative energy; integrated food systems; wetland restoration; riparian corridors; innovative construction techniques; creative reuse; and community involvement.

Our education programmes are world-leading, most notably the eight-week PDC Work-Study Internship, which is fully enrolled until the middle of 2018. We believe that the highest quality education should be affordable for anyone, not just those who can afford to go to expensive weekend workshops.

We have been privileged and humbled to be educating the next generation of permaculturists who will change the world for the better. Our dedication to people and the planet will continue to guide the development of Kaitiaki Farm and the innovative programmes offered here.

Thanks to all our supporters over the years and we look forward to even greater success in the future!

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture Update: Avocado, Pork, Honey and Olive Block

We’ve reached a major milestone in the development of our perennial food systems on Kaitiaki Farm. The fencing is in and we’ve just built our kune kune pigs a shelter in the top corner of our valley horticulture block. (Note the hives in the background.)

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The pigs were very happy to see the new growth as the days get slightly longer.

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The windy hillside has already been planted with olive trees. The higher slopes and stream have been planted with native trees, including many manuka for honey production.

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We have over-wintered the avocado trees to protect them from frost, so they are still in their tubs. They will be planted further down the valley in the spring.

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These tagasaste (tree lucerne) will act as nurse trees for the avocados next winter and beyond. By then these little seedlings will be over 1.5 metres tall.

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Within a few years this view will be transformed into a textbook perennial polyculture food production system. Can’t wait.

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A huge thanks to our friend and probably NZ’s best permaculture horticulturist, Rob Bartrum. Chu, bro.

 

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture Internship: A Day in the Life

Here is a glimpse of what a permaculture internship on Kaitiaki Farm looks like. It includes regular chores like animal care, solar cooking and cutting firewood in the winter, but it can also include unique projects.

One morning this week our interns had the opportunity to meet with land care specialists from our Regional Council who came to the farm to advise us on a planting plan for our stream and hillsides. While we were in the valley we planted some willow poles at the bottom of a recent slip. (We cut and prepared the poles the previous day.)

Later that day they helped out at a pop-up Curtain Bank we started to hand out free curtains to families in need in our community. Once we got home there was still a little sunlight left so we planted another few rows of garlic.

The permaculture ethics can be summarised as: Earth Care; People Care; Fair Share. Our interns immerse themselves in these ethics along with the four-dimensional design strategies we employ on the farm. After two months they leave us with a Permaculture Design Certificate, a large array of practical skills, and a new perspective on the world and how to re-design it to better serve people and the planet. Our current group of three interns graduate tomorrow. We wish them luck!

For more information on the Kaitiaki PDC internship programme:

http://www.theecoschool.net/workstudy-permaculture-design-certificate.html

 

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Work Study PDC Internship

 

Earn your Permaculture Design Certificate while working on a premier permaculture demonstration farm in New Zealand.

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

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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 in four dimensions (over time), along with the hands-on skills required to work effectively with cultivated ecologies.

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Kaitiaki Farm is an exemplar permaculture property that is blessed with a diverse array of microclimates and growing conditions. The 5.1 hectare (13 acre) property is located 4 km outside of Whanganui with a population of 43,000.

Along with holistic land management we also embrace appropriate technology, renewable energy and human-scale solutions.

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Many of our interns come with low or no rural skills. Motivation, a love of learning, and a strong work ethic are the most important elements for success at Kaitiaki.

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We spend a lot of time teaching and talking. This slows down our work but makes the internship what it is – an endless series of ‘teachable moments’. It is also the best way to earn a PDC. This type of learning experience is extremely rare anywhere in the world and would not come from a book or standard PDC course. That said, we have a huge library of great books and lots of connections locally and nationwide of practicing permaculturists.

Interns work three-ish full-ish days and two half days per week, with two days off.

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More details here: http://www.theecoschool.net/workstudy-permaculture-design-certificate.html

The ECO School

Whanganui, New Zealand

 

Inquiries: theecoschool at gmail dot com

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