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School Breakfast Clubs

A number of New Zealand schools serving “low decile” (low socio-economic) areas have breakfast clubs which supply breakfasts for at least some of the children at the school one or more days each week.  There are a number of organisations that provide food for breakfast clubs, including the following:


Kick Start Breakfast Programme


For a list of schools that are involved in the Kick Start Breakfast programme visit this link:




The Life Centre Trust Breakfast Programme



Red Cross Breakfast in Schools Programme



Some breakfast clubs rely on food that is donated by businesses, while others pay for food out of their own school budgets.  These schools in particular may appreciate donations of food and/or assistance with starting/maintaining school gardens to help improve their students’ nutrition  and learning.


Guidelines for how to establish a school breakfast club may be downloaded from this link:


To read a NZ Herald story about Breakfast Clubs in NZ schools, visit this link:


Categories: School Breakfast Clubs, Schools and Early Childhood Centres

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets have been rapidly growing in popularity over the last few years.  They are beneficial for the people in the towns and cities where they are located because they are a good source of high quality, fresh fruit and vegetables (and often other foods such as fish, meat, bread etc) that has been produced locally.  Prices are often lower than they would be for a similar product at a store because the farmer or grower sells directly to his or her customer; there is no wholesaler.

Producers benefit because farmers’ markets are a low cost venue through which to sell their food and build relationships with their customers. The fact that the emphasis is on locally grown or produced food also has environmental benefits.

Lastly, people often enjoy the social dimension of shopping at a farmers market, and some have added extras such as workshops, cooking classes or live music which are added attractions.  Below is a list of farmers’ markets in NZ

For up-to date open hours and contact information please click on the websites of the markets (or the regional organisers’ websites) listed below:


North Island Farmers’ Markets

Northland Region

Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market (organisers)
Website: http://www.bayofislandsfarmersmarket.org.nz/

Kerikeri Farmers’ Market
Paihia Farmers’ Market


Auckland Region

Matakana Village Farmers’ Market
Website: http://matakanavillage.co.nz/market/matakana-farmers-market/

Hobsonville Point Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.hobsonvillepoint.co.nz/community/hobsonville-point-farmers-market/

Orewa Beach Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11776&NoCache=110606132334WTYVZKEU

Clevedon Village Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.clevedonfarmersmarket.co.nz/

The City Farmers’ Market at Brito Mart
Website: http://www.cityfarmersmarket.co.nz/

Grey Lynn Farmer’s Market
Website: http://www.glfm.co.nz/

Parnell Farmers Market
Website: http://www.parnell.org.nz/Parnell-Trust-Farmers-Market-Auckland.htm


Waikato & Bay of Plenty

Tauranga Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.taurangafarmersmarket.co.nz/

Waikato Farmers’ Markets (organisers)
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11196&NoCache=110606133813ZAFTZJOR
Market video:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgFK_4UtoU8

Hamilton Farmers’ Market
Cambridge Farmers’ Market
Te Awamutu Farmers’ Market

Whakatane Farmers’ Market
email: bakers@world-net.co.nz


The East Coast

Gisborne Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.gisbornefarmersmarket.co.nz/market/home.php

Hawkes Bay Farmers’ Market (organisers)

Napier Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.hawkesbayfarmersmarket.co.nz/

Hastings Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=10577&NoCache=110606135315JWRKZJQM


Lower North Island

Farmers’ Market Taranaki
Website: http://www.farmersmarkettaranaki.org.nz/

Wairarapa Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11701&NoCache=110606140850JCPXQTHZ

Feilding Farmers’ Market
Website : http://www.feildingfm.com/

Whanganui Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.therivertraders.co.nz/

Palmy Farmers’ Market:  Closed until further notice – check back at this link for details http://www.marketground.co.nz/clubsite.asp?siteid=10563&pageid=35276&pagetypeid=4


Wellington’s best little food market.  Every Saturday morning 8.30-12.30.  Buy direct from the growers and producers – fresh vegetables and fruit, preserves, bread, meat, fish, cheese and other delectable produce.  Many of our stalls are organic and our eggs and meat are free range.  www.hillstfarmersmarket.org.nz
Carpark of Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul, cnr. Molesworth and Hill Street, Thorndon, Wellington.


South Island Farmers’ Markets

Top of the South

Marlborough Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11699&NoCache=110606143104FLUNJYNA
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vpz8ZLS1to

Nelson Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11772&NoCache=110606143514BRSWUHTE



Christchurch Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.christchurchfarmersmarket.co.nz/

Oxford Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11778&NoCache=110606150500ZJCINVWS

Lyttelton Farmers Market
Website: http://www.lyttelton.net.nz/lfm/

Waipara Valley Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11777&NoCache=110606151310PTLSEORF

Methven Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.methvenfarmersmarket.co.nz

Ashburton District Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=12184

Ohoka Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.ohokafarmersmarket.co.nz/


Southern and Otago Region

Central Otago Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11780&NoCache=110606154942QINGHYHE

Oamaru Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.oamarufarmersmarket.co.nz/

Otago Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.otagofarmersmarket.org.nz/

Gore Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=12392&NoCache=110606160302KPXGQRPQ

Southern Farmers’ Market
Website: http://www.marketground.co.nz/ClubSite.asp?SiteID=11770&NoCache=110606160536OHINEAUL

Queenstown Farmers’ Market
Email: qtfarmersmarket@ihug.co.nz

From: http://www.organicexplorer.co.nz/Events/Farmers+Market+locations+throughout+New+Zealand.html

Categories: Enterprise/Employment, Farmers' Markets

Organic Certification

in NZ, there are no legal restrictions on the use of the word “organic”; therefore anyone can claim that any product is organic.  Many products that are claimed to be organic, but are uncertified, are good products; however some are not.  (Worldwide there are a lot of bad products marketed as “organic” or “environmentally friendly” by unscrupulous people or companies hoping to cash in on the growing popularity of organic food and other products.)

There are however are number of organisations in NZ that offer organic certification schemes and selecting food and/or gardening products (such as fertiliser) that include the trademark for one of these organisations on their packaging is your assurance of a genuine, high quality organic product. (Most of the trademarks for the organisations listed below may be viewed at this link; http://www.organicexplorer.co.nz/About+OE/About+Organic+Food+Certification+Symbols.html
(The logo for the new Maori organics certification is at this link: http://www.tewakakaiora.co.nz/?page_id=1304

Some of the organic certifying agencies are run by community groups and also offer free or low cost organic education, in addition to their certification schemes.

The NZ Organic Labels are:



AssureQuality is a division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.  Its organic certification is suitable for growers and farmers who want to supply the NZ domestic or some export markets.




BioGro is owned and run by The New Zealand Biological Producers and Consumers Society (NZBPCS).
BioGro organic certification is suitable for growers and farmers who want to supply to the NZ domestic market, as well as expoort.



Demeter (Run by the Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Asssociation)

Demeter is a cerification scheme for growers and farmer that are using a special type of organic agriculture known as biodynamics.  The Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association also provides educational events (such as field trips and workshops) to help people learn about biodynamic farming and gardening techniques.



Far North Organics

The Far North Organics certification system was developed by the Far North Organics Growers and Producers Society as a low cost certification option for farmers and growers supplying to the NZ market.  It also helps provide education about organic growing and farming through field trips.



Hua Parakore (Pure Food)

The new Maori organics label Hua Parakore is an intiative of the Maori Organics Aotearoa organisation Te Waka Kai Ora (roughly translated as “the canoe of the food of the light”.  The certification process incorporates traditional Maori values as well as healthy organic food production processes.




Organic Farm NZ

Organic Farm NZ was established by the Soil and Health Association is a low cost certification agency for small producers supplying to the NZ market.  It also helps educate farmers and growers about organics.



For more information on each certification agency, see its website or for a to read a brief introduction and to see most of their trademark logos of most of these organic certification labels go to this link: http://www.organicexplorer.co.nz/About+OE/About+Organic+Food+Certification+Symbols.html

Categories: Gardening Information, Organic Certification

Marae gardens

Marae are natural locations for gardens to produce food and rongoa (medicinal native plants).

Below are some links to a few inspiring stories about how marae gardens are helping to meet people’s nutritional, social and spiritual needs.

A story about Waikawa Marae Maara Kai community garden


A story about Te Rau Aroha Marae’s community garden


At this link you can read about Aunty’s Garden at Waipatu Marae in Hawkes Bay


This link to a marae garden success story includes advice about how to set up a garden:


Some marae also offer formal education opportunities to learn about gardening. Auckland’s Manurewa marae, for example not only has a community garden…
(See: http://www.justonline.co.nz/~manurewa/uploads/images/Manurewa%20Marae%20Shots/Marae%20Shots%20021.jpg ) but also runs regular gardening classes:

(See: http://www.justonline.co.nz/~manurewa/index.php?page=programmes-and-classes )

Papatuanuku Marae in Mangere, Auckland was the site of the Te Waka Kai Ora (the Maori Organics Authority) hui in June 2010.  At this link marae trustee and farmer Paul Kimura offers gardening tips:



Special Offer for Community Gardens

Koanga Gardens offers a special price Community Garden Membership which includes some heirloom seeds plus two books on organic gardening.



Funding Opportunities for Marae Gardens

In 2009, a new government programme called Maara Kai was set up to provide funding to establish community gardens on Marae


The first Maara Kai option was oversubscribed, so more money was been made available for the 2010-11 year.


Funding for Maara Kai comes from the Maori Economic Taskforce.



The Maori Economic Taskforce may be contacted at this link:


The link for the documents relating to Maara Kai for 2011 may be accessed at this link.



Beautiful photo of marae garden:


Can you help improve this page?  It would be great if it could include a list of marae gardens.  If you would like to list your marae garden, please email through the contact form with the name and address or your marae, the name(s) and contact details for the people in charge of the garden and any other information that you would like to share such as a link to photos on your website.

Categories: Community Gardens and Other Projects, Marae Gardens

School Gardens

Many schools have already established gardens, recognising the opportunities that gardening provides to foster children’s social and physical development and an interest in healthy eating. Gardening is a practical activity that most children enjoy; it provides an opportunity for very active children to use their energy productively and links into many curriculum areas such as health and science, as well as history and social studies, including tikanga Maori.

A school garden also offers a way in which parents and other family members can become more engaged with the school and their children’s learning.  Parents with expertise in growing different foods may be happy to help in the gardens and/or provide advice. School gardens can become a source of inspiration for children and parents alike, and the creation of a garden in a school often leads to families who did not previously  grow food starting their own vegetable gardens at home.

The links below are to stories about school gardening success stories:

At the two links link Holly Jean-Brooker writes about how the school gardens established at East Tamaki Primary School has benefited the children and the wider community as families have taken up gardening, while at the next link Jessie Colquhoun’s discovers that the gardening project has improved children’s descriptive writing and social skills.



This link describes how four students and one teacher at St Joseph’s school in Hamilton, have helped to create a garden that is now an important part of the school’s identity.


At this link you can find a video called:  The Coming of Greytown School Orchard



Special Offer for School Gardens

Koanga Gardens offers a special price Community Garden Membership for school and marae gardens  which includes some heirloom seeds plus two books on organic gardening.



In New Zealand there are a number of organisations that can help with school gardening projects in New Zealand in terms of providing support or resources or funding.

The Nelson Environment Centre

The Nelson Environment Centre offers a programme called Kids Edible Gardens in Schools (KEGS).  In 2011, a registered teacher has been employed to help run the programme by facilitating the programme in two school and assisting teachers in other schools. For more information, visit its website is below:



Fruit Trees for Auckland

This group of volunteers is raising money so that they can supply fruit trees to school and early childhood centres that request a tree as well as plant fruit trees on council owned land such as gass verges and teach people how to look after them.  If you would like a fruit tree for your school or early childhood centre you can sign up at this link http://www.fruittrees.org.nz/signup-school/  or for one on the verge outside your house, register your interest at this link http://www.fruittrees.org.nz/signup/  For more information see http://www.fruittrees.org.nz/


Garden to Table programme

The Garden to Table programme provides support for schools that want to involve children in producing, cooking, serving and enjoying healthy foods.  For more information, visit its website is below:



World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund is a source of funding for environmentally beneficial projects in schools such as establishing organic gardens.  To date it has supported 35 schools in their gardening projects.  WWF disburses funds to organisations such as the Nelson Environment Centre, and schools can also apply to the WWF for funding for specific projects.




The Royal Society

The Royal Society provides some funding grants for environmental science based activities, including setting up worm farms, science equipment (such as that needed to study weather), purchase of books related to ecology etc.  In the past it has given funds for the planting of native plants to provide food and habitat for native birds and butterflies, so a permaculture forest to supply food for people that also included native plants that are important for native birds and butterflies may also be funded.

For more information and how to apply see this link:  http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/programmes/funds/bayer-primary-school-science-fund/

(Senior high school students who want to work in a project that involves environmental research or restoration may also apply for individual scholarships to find their work.  Students are responsible for finding a host organisation with which to work.) See http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/programmes/funds/bayerboost/

School gardens may potentially provide a useful teaching laboratory for practical scientific research projects at different levels of the school curriculum.  Students may work towards the Royal Society’s CREST  programmme.  (See: http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/teaching-learning/crest/ ).  Past CREST projects have included Charlotte Robertson’s project which examined whether how efficiently watercress removes dissolved nitrates from water (with a view to seeing whether it could be used to help reduce water pollution) http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/teaching-learning/crest/gold/recipients/2011/2011-gold-crest-recipient-charlotte-robertson/.  Another  notable project has been using barley waste from a brewery to make biodegraadble containers by a team from Kavanagh College. See: http://www.techlink.org.nz/student-showcase/food-and-biological/Grain-Brains.htm


The Soil and Health Association


The Soil and Health Association (a 70 year old organisation dedicated to promoting organic growing and farming and the publisher of Organic Nz magazine) has established a Project Gro (http://www.organicnz.org/projectgro/) – a fund to support organic gardening in schools.  Money donated to Project Gro has supported the Ecomatters Environment Trust ( www.ecomatters.org.nz ) to help schools in West Auckland establish organic gardens.   Members of the Soil and Health Association may also be available to help with school gardens; please call the association on 09 419 4536 in Auckland or email manager@organicnz.org and the organisation will help you find a volunteer in your area.


Organic gardening workshops, books and teachers resources

Dee Pigneguy, who is a member of the National Council of the Soil and Health Association – and author of the books Growing Gardeners, Gardening for Planet Earth and  Feed Me Right (with Dee Pigneguy) see below – offers low cost consultations for schools which want to set up organic gardens.  Her website is http://www.feedmeright.co.nz/.  The page for schools is http://www.feedmeright.co.nz/schools.html.  She also offers organic gardening courses http://www.feedmeright.co.nz/

Dee’s books also include a teachers’ guide based on her book Feed Me RightThe Feed Me Right Teacher’s Resource is packed with lesson plans, activities and work sheets and wall charts giving teachers the opportunity to develop and use the nutritional and science ideas in Feed Me Right with students of all ages.  For more information about this and the other books see this link: http://www.feedmeright.co.nz/books.html

The following link is to a PDF on how to set up a school garden:



Other books

The Soil and Health book club (see http://www.organicnz.org/bookclub/ ) has a number of excellent books on organics.  Those that are particularly useful for schools include:

A Worm’s Eye View of Recycling (suitable for primary school students) and a bargain at only $5
Organic Gardening A Guide by Organic NZ (only $9.90) or it available as a free download chapter by chapter starting from this link:  http://www.organicnz.org/60/organic-gardening/
A Tohunga’s Natural World:  Plants, Gardening and Food by Dr Paul Moon (secondary school level) is also available from the Soil and Health book club.

Other educational opportunities

Teachers may wish to visit the Education and Training page of this site which lists a large number of free or low cost opportunities to learn about organic gardening that may be helpful for themselves, their students or their students’ parents.


Categories: School Gardens, Schools and Early Childhood Centres

Education and Training

Free and/or Low Cost Opportunities to Learn Organic Gardening



Adult Education Programmes

A lot of high schools and some community centres offer adult education programmes.  Classes and workshops are run by tutors who have expertise in certain areas.  Many adult education programmes offer classes in organic growing, garden design or similar topics.  They are generally low cost (to NZ citizens and permanent residents) as most are partially subsidised by the government.

The following link allows you to type in a key word such as “gardening” or “organic”, “biodynamic”, “compost”, “permaculture” etc and find out what is available in your area.  http://www.xtend.co.nz/communityed/


Community Gardens

If you have no experience in growing food, or gardening in general, joining a community garden is a good way to gain practical experience as you can learn a lot while working alongside more experienced gardeners.  You can find a list of community gardens on the “Community Garden Directory” section of this site http://www.growtogether.org.nz/category/community-gardens-and-other-projects/community-gardens-directory/ so that you can contact a community garden near you.  Many marae also have gardens and some of these are listed on this page http://www.growtogether.org.nz/community-gardens-and-other-projects/marae-gardens/

Some community gardens are worked communally, while others include small allotments that can be rented for a minimal fee ($20 upwards/year) as well as communal gardens.  Some community gardens run formal gardening courses that are advertised on their website and others may offer other benefits to garden members or the wider community such as running a seed exchange.

If you are in the Waikato, you can join the Waikato Community Gardens Network
The Network was formed in 2011 and meets twice a year.  The Network has a Google Group email list at this link https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/waikato-community-gardens-network/n6miJprNZxg with open membership where you can hear about events, open days, etc.


Notable Community Gardens

Growing for Health programme (Auckland)

In South Auckland the former Manukau Council has been running running a very successful “Growing for Health” programme in which participants are given a garden plot 5 m x 5 m in a local reserve, a gardening book and hands-on tuition.  This free programme lasts for either a summer growing season or winter growing season and at the conclusion of the programmes participants will have the knowledge they need to garden successfully at home.



CC Disability Action Community Garden (Auckland)

CCS Disability Action has a garden in Royal Oak, Auckland that is open to everyone, not just the disabled community.  http://www.northern.ccsdisabilityaction.org.nz/Services/CCSDisabilityActionCommunityGardens/tabid/811/Default.aspx

This year, the organisation ran Master Gardener Courses to help raise funds for the garden. To find out about what is happening in the garden, visit its blog http://www.ccsdisabilityactiongarden.blogspot.com/


Grandview Community Garden (Waikato)

Located in Grandview Road, Grandview, Hamilton.
A Waikato International Community Garden Project (WIC)
http://ooooby.ning.com/group/wic – see the Community Gardening discussion
Phone Clare and Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 224 3109 to arrange a visit or to start a garden.


Create Your Own Eden:  Free Composting Courses

Free courses in different composting techniques (traditional, worm farming, bokashi) are held at different locations in Auckland by Create Your Own Eden.  Course details may be found at this link.


The organisation also has a free online guide to composting (visit the Composting page at this link for details.)


Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets are an increasingly popular place to shop.  Some farmers’ markets such as the Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market in Auckland also offer workshops in various aspects of organic food production and related topics such as cooking. (See http://www.glfm.co.nz/ )  Farmers markets are a good place to buy organic vegetable and herb seedlings and as you are buying directly from the grower, you can get helpful advice about how to grow plants with which you are unfamiliar.

For more information on Farmers’ markets see this link or visit the site of Farmers’ Markets NZ at  http://www.farmersmarkets.org.nz/
A list of markets that belong to this organisation may be found at this link:


Hive Taranaki

This site includes a community bulletin board on which courses on a variety of topics including Rongoa Maori, soils and gardening, water harvesting, use and conservation etc are advertised.




Your local public library is a great source of information about organic growing.  Over the last few years, there have been a number of excellent books published on different aspects of organic growing and farming and many of these books are available through the public library system.


Organic Certification Agencies

Some of the organisations that run organic certification schemes such as the Biodynamic Gardeners and Farmers Association run workshops and field trips that provide good opportunities to learn about organic growing and farming. See the Oragnic Certification page of this site for details.


Permaculture in New Zealand

This organisation is dedicated to permaculture, defined by its founder as “the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.”

Courses relating to permaculture and are advertised on the website of Permaculture in NZ.



EarthCare Education Aotearoa

This is a trust that is dedicated to teaching people about permaculture as a way of restoring the natural  environment and also improving food security.  The trust holds workshops and is also going on tour with the Localising Food Aotearoa Tour in late 2012 and early 2013.  (Please see the News page at this link for details:  http://www.growtogether.org.nz/news/ )



Sustainability Trust

Based in Wellington, this trust has a number of services including a free advice service that covers queries relating to edible gardening , as well as other issues (such as insulation and waste disposal.) They are also in the process of setting up an Eco-library service.

You can access the free advice service at this link:  http://sustaintrust.org.nz/advice

or Freephone 0508 78 78 24 x 714

The link about the new library is http://sustaintrust.org.nz/advice/ecolibrary

The trust also runs events such as community garden tours in the Wellington area. Check out their events page for what is happening:



The Correspondence School/Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu

The Correspondence School is a state school that offers correspondence programmes for preschoolers to young adults.  Horticulture (and agriculture) is offered at NCEA Level 1 and Level 2.  (At Level 3, the two subjects are combined.)

Studying at The Correspondence School is free for young adults aged 16 to 19 who are not attending any other secondary school (provided that they are not due to turn 20 in the year that they are enrolled.)


An overview of the NCEA Level 1 horticulture curriculum may be viewed at this link:


The curriculum emphasises practical skills, basic knowledge of plant biology and nutrient requirements and scientific investigations into plant growth. It is not strictly organic, but much of the information can be applied in organic gardening. The on-line support materials for the curriculum may be read selecting from the menu at the top left hand corner of the page at this link:  http://www.tekura.school.nz/departments/horticulture/

NB:  Unlike other state schools in NZ which are funded on the basis of the numbers of students, TCS is funded on the basis of units of work returned; therefore people should not enroll with the school unless they are committed to doing the work.


The Soil and Health Association 


The Soil and Health Association is a 70n year old organisation devoted to organic gardening and  farming. It publishes Organic NZ magazine which is a good source of information about organic growing. At the back of each issue, there is a list of field trips and workshops for members.  These are free or have a nominal cost and offer an excellent opportunity to leatn about organic growing and farming.


The Sustainable Living Education Trust

This organisation runs courses that include organic gardening and composting as well as water use and conservation, energy efficiency etc.  There is an outline of course content at this link:  http://www.sustainableliving.org.nz/Courses.aspx
Course locations are at this link: http://www.sustainableliving.org.nz/Sustainable-Living-Regional-Info.aspx



Wwoof is an acronym that stands for “Willing workers on organic farms”.  Organic farmers and growers who would like to becoming Wwoofing hosts join the network and contribute some basic information about their farm, what it produces and what sort of accommodation it offers, what time(s) of year they would like Wwoofers, how long they want them to stay etc. People who would like to gain experience working on an organic farms also join the Wwoofing network and then contact hosts in an area in which they would like to work.

Wwoofing hosts offer food and accommodation in exchange for an agreed number of hours work per day. Wwoofing is a great way to learn practical organic gardening and farming and make new friends.  Many Wwoofers are tourists so it there are often also interesting opportunities to learn about other countries and cultures.  Most Wwoofing hosts prefer single adults or couples, however a few welcome families with children.



Tertiary Level Courses

A number of tertiary institutions in New Zealand offer courses in various aspects of organic agriculture and horticulture.  While tertiary education is not necessary to become a successful organic gardener (and tertiary education certainly is not free or low cost) information about these courses will be added soon.

Categories: Education and Training, Gardening Information

Seed Saving

Worldwide over the past century there has been an enormous loss of genetic material as old varieties of seed have been abandoned by larger farmers in favour of the modern hybrids promoted by large agrochemical companies.  More recently, with the advent of genetic engineering, crops have been developed to have “terminator” genes – that is, they are genetically modified so that any seeds that they produce will be sterile.  The use of these seeds would prevent farmers who buy them from being able to use any of their crop for seeds for the next season – thus forcing them to become dependent on the agrochemical companies for seeds. This technology is not in commercial use due to a de-facto moratorium on the commercial release or field trials of these seeds recommended by United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity In 2000 and re-affirmed in 2006.

A growing appreciation of the magnitude of the loss of human cultural heritage represented by the disappearance of many heirloom seed varieties has fortunately led a revival in community initiatives to save heritage seeds as a means of maintain the biodiversity of crops and also to maintain viable stocks of open-pollinated seeds that will breed true to form and can be saved from season to season thus providing people with the means to grow food independent of the large agrochemical companies.

Buying heirloom varieties of seed (or seedlings grown from heirloom varieties; these may be bought from farmers markets or whole foods/organic food stores) for use in home, school or community gardens one way to help maintain the diversity of food crops in New Zealand.  It also has the advantage that you can save seeds from your crops from year to year and share them with family, friends or within more formal seed saving networks.


The following organisations supply heirloom seeds:


Eco Seeds Ltd   http://www.ecoseeds.co.nz/

This business supplies heritage seeds, some of which are certified organic.


Koanga Gardens    http://www.koanga.org.nz/

Started by Kay Baxter, this organisation has saved a large range of organic heritage seed varieties.  Some of its seeds are available from health food stores and other outlets that sell seeds, while others are available to members only.  http://www.koanga.org.nz/koanga-seeds


Kings Seeds   http://www.kingsseeds.co.nz/

This business supplies a wide range of seeds, some are organic some are not.  Some imported seeds have to be treated with fungicide (this is a MAF requirement). Seeds that have been treated are identified with a sticker. Some organic seeds are coated in a seed enhancement agent.


A useful basic guide to saving your own seeds may be read at these links:



An online book that gives a step by step guide to saving seeds from different plants may be read at this link:


New Zealand Seed Saving Organisations

Koanga Gardens



Seed Savers Aotearoa New Zealand

http://www.seedsavers.org.nz/  – This site includes a list of NZ Seed Saving Organisations and contact details at this link: http://www.seedsavers.org.nz/groups/groups.html.  Most of the groups listed at this link do not have websites.


NZ seed saving networks which do have websites are listed below:


Koanga Gardens



Rotorua Seed Savers Network



Nelson Seed Savers:



Southern Seed Exchange



Symbiosis Seed Exchange (Southland)



Southland Seed Savers



International Seed Saving Institute


Categories: Gardening Information, Seed Saving