What’s beyond organic?

This tour was created to educate and help change the way we grow food. Hundreds of people came to the 20 events from Northland to Otago, and connected to other people who are actively building productive, profitable, permaculture-inspired food growing systems in Aotearoa.

Resources will continue to be uploaded to this site in the coming days. Watch this for news of a collaboration with Ooooby that will be of interest to anyone wanting to grow more food in the polyculture style, as Stefan describes.

Be sure to sign up for updates to keep abreast of all the developments here and for news of the 2016 tour with Curtis Stone and Jean-Martin Fortier.

James Samuel
021 252 0653


About the 2015 Beyond Organic NZ Tour



Internationally recognised speaker and orchardist Stefan Sobkowiak visited New Zealand from Canada. In 2014 a feature length documentary “The Permaculture Orchard” was released about Stefan and his orchard Miracle Farms.

Stefan came to NZ after a European Tour and then speaking at Permaculture Voices conference in San Diego. The 20 event national tour ran from March 11th to April 6th – from Northland to Central Otago where he led a series of public talks and workshops.

Twenty years ago Stefan bought a conventional Apple orchard outside of Quebec and over the next few years converted it to organics. Seven years ago he re-designed the orchard to go Beyond Organic through applying whole systems design thinking that bring the benefits of less work, more yield and more fun.

Take two mins and watch the video below and you’ll get a glimpse of what’s behind the Beyond Organic title.

For more detail and background to Stefan’s work, watch this 9 minute video

Here is an outline of the topics Stefan covered at the workshops. 





Introduction to Forest gardening

Why multi-layered systems of mostly perennial plants



Introduce plants used in temperate forest gardening



Introduction to Permaculture

The roots and essence of Permaculture Y Y
Gain a grasp of David Holmgren’s 12 design principles Y Y
Patterns in nature and how to apply them Y Y
Recognise common traits in Permaculture-inspired projects Y Y

Commercial Permaculture Orchard economics

Direct sales to an appreciative customer base Y Y
Marketing a diversity of yield Y Y
Letting word of mouth work its magic Y
Adding value Y

Propagation essentials

Understand how simple some plants can be multiplied Y Y
Understand money saving potential of plant propagation Y Y
Calculate what space is needed to propagate for your needs Y

Magic model  

Demystify the design process and make it fun Y Y
Design by playing (model) rather than working (plan) Y
Make a Base model in 5 minutes, in a group Y
Playing with the elements – (10 iterations ideal) Y
Evaluation of associations between elements Y

Evaluate and establish a site

Evaluate site(s) for drainage, microclimate, slope and orientation Y Y
Establish a minimum of 1 trio – preferably  2 Y

Site plantings

Understand spacing, sun and shade side, guild plants Y Y
Prepare a site, plant and mulch Y

Observation Skills

Climate / microclimate Y
Learn the elements to look for on a site Y
Experience at least 3 ways to observe a site Y
Learn to walk a site looking at It with a mono view and poly view Y


Learn the 3 essentials to a vibrant soil (hint: they’re not N P K) Y
Understand the value of the micro-herd Y


Work with and attract birds into the system Y
The importance of apex predators in the insect world Y
Work with insect and animal species using habitat and structures Y

Here is the official trailer for the two-hour Permaculture Orchard film