— PRESS RELEASE —

February 19, 2015

 

The future of food goes on tour in NZ

The Beyond Organic NZ Tour – March 11th to April 6th 2015 (see details for each local event below)

 

 

Can we really feed the world without destroying the environment?

Internationally recognised speaker and commercial orchardist Stefan Sobkowiak (sob-ko-vee-ak) believes we can. And he is visiting New Zealand from Canada, with an extensive calendar of 20 events from Northland to Central Otago.

 

What’s it all about?

Last year a feature length documentary “The Permaculture Orchard” was released about Stefan and his orchard, Miracle Farms. He will be leading a series of talks and workshops, showing the multiple benefits of polyculture systems as part of the Beyond Organic NZ Tour.

 

Feeding the world

While agri-business continues to blow its own trumpet claiming industrial agriculture is the only way to feed the worlds growing population, research is proving otherwise.

The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) report recommends that farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food.

The UNCTAD Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture.

The Farming Systems Trial (FST) at the Rodale Institute in the US has been running an independent side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture for over 30 years to study what happens during the transition from chemical to organic agriculture. The FST surprised a food community that still scoffed at organic practices. After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system

The study has found organic farming has demonstrated that it’s better equipped to feed us now and well into the ever changing future.

 

Beyond Organic

Permaculture bypasses or reduces the need for ongoing external inputs (chemical or organically-approved) by working to create whole systems focussed less on annual cropping and more on perennial production. Permaculture has been around for about 40 years demonstrating that it’s possible to grow an abundance of healthy food while also regenerating the eco-systems in which it exists. It’s best known as a method of production on the small to medium scale however, there’s an increasing number of examples of multi-layered, multi-species systems within broad scale agriculture. They most often include birds and animals within an intensive diversity of plants, that are proving to be productive and profitable well beyond that of their neighbouring farms. While there’s no shortcut, the investment up front is proving to reward these farmers with less work, more yield and more fun.

Polyface Film trailer: https://vimeo.com/81468461

 

Commercial Permaculture

Stefan Sobkowiak is one of the leaders in his particular field of applying permaculture to commercial orcharding. What he has learnt in the last 20 years applies to both large-scale horticulture or those few fruit trees in your backyard. Stefan bought a commercial Apple orchard outside Quebec and over the next few years converted it to organics. Seven years ago he re-designed the orchard using permaculture principles while maintaining and building on the commercial focus. Stefan is one of a few who is earning his living from a commercial permaculture-inspired orchard.

Permaculture Orchard film trailer: https://vimeo.com/89363415

The Beyond Organic NZ Tour with Stefan Sobkowiak is an opportunity to hear how these productive, profitable, permaculture-inspired practices work.

 

New Food Distribution models

James Samuel, co-founder of ooooby.org a NZ food distribution model that is expanding into North America, will be joining Stefan on this tour. An important part of the conversation, if we are considering moving to a diversity of yields, is how to get the produce to market in an efficient and cost-effective way. James will talk about some of the food distribution trends and the opportunities they are opening up.

For more information visit: www.beyondorganicnztour.com

 


 

For interviews with Stefan Sobkowiak please contact tour organiser:

James Samuel – james@foodforest.co.nz – 021 252 0653

Photos for media dowloadable at: www.beyondorganicnztour.com/media

 


 

LOCAL EVENT DETAILS

 

All the local event details
copy as required

 

Waiheke Island – 11 March, 1:30pm – 2:30pm

Te Huruhi will host a short talk by Stefan Sobkowiak, focussed on the Primary School’s orchard on the Southern boundary. Come and hear how a small orchard block can be made more productive, while simultaneously reducing the maintenance needs.

 

Waiheke Island 12 & 13 March, 9am – 5pm

A Church Bay lifestyle property will be the backdrop for this two-day Permaculture Orchard Design workshop. The focus will be on learning how to design and then implement a polyculture with diverse tree species and understory plantings for maximum yield and reduced work and other inputs.

 

Matakana 15 March, 10am – 4pm

Five short, sharp, snappy presentations are being prepared, to highlight local food projects and enterprises in the bio-region and beyond. Come, hear from and connect to some of the leaders in the field, and welcome Stefan Sobkowiak of the Permaculture Orchard Film. Stefan will show segments from the film and talk about the methods, the logic and the economics behind his diverse and productive orchard-based system.

 

Tauranga 17 March, 9am – 5pm

Bay of Plenty Polytechnic are hosting a one day workshop to learn about design and systems thinking in commercial orcharding, focussed around the Polytech’s Kiwifruit plot. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefit of using a diversity of species, understory plantings and integrated animals to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs.

 

Tauranga 17 March, 7pm – 9pm

Enjoy 45mins of the Permaculture Orchard film followed by talk and a lively Q&A with Stefan Sobkowiak and James Samuel (ooooby.org). Tickets: $20 at the door. Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Rd Lecture room DT104 from 7pm – 9pm

 

Tauranga 18 & 19 March, 9am – 5pm

The Nashi Orchard of Janice Higgison will be the backdrop for learning how to move from a single species orchard to a polyculture orchard. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefit of using a diversity of tree species and understory plantings to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs. Participate in the design, planning and first steps of implementing the transition of this orchard.

 

Havelock North 20 March, 7pm – 9pm

Stefan, fresh from his European Tour, will be showing segments from his Permaculture Orchard Film and talking about the logic, the methods and the economics behind his diverse and highly productive orchard system. James Samuel and Pete Russell (ooooby.org) will offer insights and news about local food projects and distribution models. $20 at the door. Havelock North Community Centre (Lantern Gallery)

 

Ashhurst 21 March, 1:30pm – 4pm

Stefan, fresh from his European Tour, will be showing segments from his Permaculture Orchard Film and talking about the logic, the methods and the economics behind his diverse and highly productive orchard system. James Samuel and Pete Russell (ooooby.org) will offer insights and news about local food projects and distribution models. $20 at the door. The Village Valley Centre, 21 Guildford St

 

Manakau (Kapiti Coast) 21 March, 7pm – 9pm

Evening presentations include Bena Denton & Daniel Woolley on small scale & urban food forests, Pete Russell on the Ooooby food distribution model, and Stefan Sobkowiak fresh from his European Tour, will be showing segments from his Permaculture Orchard Film and talking about the logic, the methods and the economics behind his diverse and highly productive orchard system.

 

Te Horo (Kapiti Coast) 22 March, 9am – 5pm

A one day workshop will take place at Windsor Park, a 10 acre commercial orchard. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefits of using a diversity of tree species and understory plantings to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs.

 

Wairarapa 24 March, 9am – 5pm

This is an opportunity to visit an establishing 50 acre food forest and learn from skilled designers. Hosted by Gary Williams and Stefan Sobkowiak at James Cameron’s Pounui farm.

 

Motueka 27 March, 9am -5pm

The Pear and Organic Kiwifruit Orchard, ‘Walnut Farm’ of Doug & Maree Satherley will be the backdrop for learning how to move from a single species orchard to a polyculture orchard. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefits of using a diversity of tree species and understory plantings to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs. Participate in the design and planning of a multi species orchard.

 

Christchurch 29 March, 2pm – 5pm

Stefan Sobkowiak will show a segment of the Permaculture Orchard film, then offer a short talk and field questions. James Samuel will share some of the latest developments in urban food. Then local practitioners and visionaries in the food resilience space, will speak about their projects, before the signing of the Food Resilience Charter. In association with A Brave New City. Venue: WEA, 59 Gloucester St. Suggested Koha $10

Stay to share some of the locally grown food if you can.

 

Christchurch 30 March, 9am – 5pm

The Biological Husbandry Unit at Lincoln University, will be the location of a one day workshop to learn about design and systems thinking in commercial orcharding. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefit of using a diversity of species, understory plantings and integrating animals to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs.

 

Dunedin 1 April, 10am – 2:30pm

The focus of this half-day workshop at Habitate Nursery will be fine tuning an existing organic market garden / orchard and nursery and discussion of the economics of commercial permaculture orcharding and systems design.

 

Dunedin OP 1 April, 7pm – 9pm

Bring potluck (finger food) at 5.30 and enjoy mini expo of local food groups at The Sargood Centre (Otago Polytechnic). Clips from the Permaculture Orchard film, a talk and Q&A will follow from 7pm with Stefan Sobkowiak fresh from his European Tour.

 

Palmerston (Coastal Otago) 2 April, 7pm – 9pm

The Central Park Farm lifestyle block on the edge of Palmerston will be the backdrop for learning about design and systems thinking in small scale organic enterprise and home production for a small block. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefit of using a diversity of tree species, understory plantings and integrated animals to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs. Participate in the design and planning process for this property.

 

Wanaka 4 April, 7pm – 9pm

Stefan, fresh from his European Tour, will be showing segments from his Permaculture Orchard Film and talking about the logic, the methods and the economics behind his diverse and highly productive orchard system. James Samuel and Pete Russell (ooooby.org) will offer insights and news about local food projects and distribution models. $20 at the door. Venue to be confirmed

 

Hawea Flat 5 April, 9am – 5pm

The (almost three year) old Hawea Flat Domain Community Food Forest will be the backdrop for learning about design and systems thinking in this community project. Stefan Sobkowiak will talk about the benefit of using a diversity of tree species, understory plantings and integrated animals to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs. Participate in a design exercise using this project as the canvas.

 

Arrowton 6 April, 9am – 5pm

The existing organic and permaculture-inspired orchard of Juliet Pope in Arrowtown will be the backdrop for learning about design and systems thinking in small scale organic enterprise. Stefan Sobkowiak will show the benefit of using a diversity of tree species, understory plantings and integrated animals to increase returns through greater yields and reduced inputs. Participate in a design exercise using this property as a canvas.


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