Top of the South

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The first stop in Motueka was at Doug’s 15 Hectare Pear and Organic Kiwifruit Orchard, ‘Walnut Farm’. this was the backdrop for learning how to move from a single species orchard to a polyculture orchard. Stefan Sobkowiak described the benefit of using a diversity of tree species and understory plantings to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs.

It was a pleasure to have a range of skills and interests present, including experienced permaculture tutors and practitioners like Robina McCurdy and Petra Stephenson, who expressed appreciation for all the new learning they received.



New Zealand’s 20 Hectare Food Forest

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It’s not every day you see, experience and explore the intricacies of a 20 Hectare (50 acre) food forest. Its scale impacted all of us, even in its early establishment phase. This event at James Cameron’s Wairarapa food forest, was the crescendo workshop on the Beyond Organic NZ Tour to date, due to the sheer scale of the project.

Gary and Emily Williams of have been leading this project for the last two years and Gary kicked off the day by presenting the history and design. Then we headed out in a convoy to see the result of the recent winter planting of 5,000+ trees.

Many lessons have already been learned on the site and it has raised the bar for future projects of a similar or larger scale.

There was an abundance of discussion in the field, led by Gary, Emily, Matt and Stefan, before coming back for a most delicious lunch put on by chef Dave. The afternoon began with a presentation by Stefan followed by group practice in polyculture design.

This project is a valuable demonstration for anyone looking to transition from monoculture to polyculture, and take on a regenerative approach to food production. Through hosting this educational event, the Cameron family are making an important gesture of support that will inspire many others as they undertake large scale projects, now and into the future.

Stefan Sobkowiak / Gary Williams / James Samuel

If you are lucky enough to live in the South Island, we’re on our way to see you. The first South Island workshop is in Motueka (March 27th), then Christchurch (March 29-30th), Dunedin (April 1st-3rd) and finally Hawea Flat and Arrowtown (April 5th & 6th). Check the calendar of events for details and registration – as one of the participants posted on the Facebook page, “If Stefan is coming anywhere near you, GO!”

Presentation 2 – first given March 24

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This alternartive presentation was given at the Wairarapa workshop on March 24th.

The Permaculture Orchard – book

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For the time being, before it’s printed, Stefan Sobkowiak’s book can be read here. Enjoy!

Stefan’s Presentation

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People have been asking for this . . .

BONZTour – Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Kapiti Coast

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After spending 4 nights in the Bay of Plenty we were on the move again and covered some miles, with events in Havelock North, Ashhurst and the Kapiti Coast. The gratitude people have been expressing is so encouraging, as people learn about new ways to look at their land and new approaches to food production.

Hawkes Bay

One day workshop at Windsor Park orchard

The Beyond Organic NZ Tour – Day 8

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Waiheke, Matakana and the Bay of Plenty events are behind us now. Networks have been established amongst the participants and we’re moving on to the next public events and workshops – from Hawkes Bay to Central Otago.

Stefan is bringing new ways of thinking about growing food, and the level of appreciation for his knowledge and ideas is a testament to the years of trial and error, the practical experience and the depth of research and study he’s undertaken.

See earlier posts, read more of this article to find out what people are getting from the events, or watch the videos to get more background on Stefan and his work.

Why people keep coming to Stefan’s workshops

Here are some of the things workshop participants posted on Facebook, in response to the question, “What are the things you learned, that got you most excited?” Read the rest of this entry »