23 Feb 2018

Pakaraka Permaculture

From Country Life, 9:35 pm on 23 February 2018


Niva and Yotam Kay produce an astonishing 8000 kilograms of vegetables a year from their quarter acre, or 1000 square metre, vegetable patch in the lush Kauaeranga Valley near Thames.

And they say they can do better.

Last year the tiny market garden grossed sales of $85,000. Now the young couple is aiming to hit $100,000.

Yotam says they farm bio-intensively, giving a lot to the plants and the soil and receiving a lot in return.

The couple grows dozens of lines of vegetables and herbs and once one crop is harvested, another is immediately planted.

Up to six crops might be harvested from a single bed in a season.

"Because we are not using tractors or machinery we have the beds closer together, the paths are smaller ... so we can yield a lot more per square metre than a big farm," Niva says.

The couple, who try to live as self sufficiently as possible, met while studying peace leadership and environmental studies in the desert in their home country, Israel.

They spent years travelling; visiting eco-villages, intentional communities and permaculture projects.

"Basically we took courses in education, environmental economics and law ... and we thought 'what's the most important thing we can do for the planet?'" Niva says.

"It was, everybody eats and the food system is broken. We need to learn how to grow amazing food in a regenerative  way.

"And that's what we did."