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Courses, Workshops and Tours

Apologies that this page is a little tricky to navigate - we are upgrading the site this year. Please bear with us in the meantime. The course names are all listed at the top, then please scroll down the page to find the course you are interested in and you will find all the information on content, dates, costs etc. Booking is by email, click on the links for each course. Thanks for your patience and support!

Jo has been teaching permaculture, sustainability and gardening courses and workshops since 2005 for organisations such as Environment Centre Hawke's Bay, Taruna Organics & Biodynamics Certificate, the Building Biology & Ecology Institute and Lotus Holistic Centre. She taught horticulture at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) for four years, and we have been running courses and workshops here at Kahikatea Farm itself since 2010.

We are running the following courses and tours this year (2019):

Introduction to Permaculture Design Course (4 days)

Food Forest Workshop (2 days)

Seed Sowing Workshop (2 hours)

Propagation Workshop (1 day) NEW for 2019!

Start Your Own Edible Garden Workshop (3.5 hours)

Garden and Farm (incl food forest) tour and Nursery Open days NEW for 2019!

We can also tailor courses and workshops to your specific needs. Whether you are a business, kindy, school, community garden, marae, group of home gardeners or mums with littlies, let us know your wishes and we can arrange times, content and costs to fit. To keep up to date with our course and workshop programme, please subscribe to our newsletter (see left hand menu).

Introduction to Permaculture Design Course

Find out how to grow more food for less effort, develop productive and resilient homes, gardens and communities, and find local solutions to our global social and environmental problems.

This is what previous participants have said:

"Loved it, well done! Fun and educational as well as inspiring."

"I've used the practical info to install gardens at home and made much more use of mulch from the garden. The kids are really into it too."

"Jo was a fantastic tutor. No question was left unanswered. Great work Jo!"

"Very enlightening! Jo and Aaron are such an asset to have in the Hawke's Bay community promoting and living environmental care and sustainability. Thanks heaps."

Courses take place at Poukawa School and Kahikatea Farm and cover permaculture ethics and principles, site design, house design, soil, organic gardening, water in the landscape, community and alternative economics, with practical sessions on composting, no-dig gardens, and site design.

What you get:

  • 28 hours small group tuition
  • Tutor Jo Duff Permaculture Practitioner, Founder of Hawke's Bay Permaculture Group and NZ Gardener HB Gardener of the Year 2007
  • Theory and practical sessions
  • Site visits
  • Extensive library of permaculture resources
  • Detailed handouts
  • Organic morning and afternoon tea
  • Discounts on our plants - perfect for your new permaculture planting schemes!

2019 Dates:

Fri July 12th - Mon July 15th inclusive, 9am - 5pm 

Cost:  $390 - $450 sliding scale.  $620 couples (2 people learning together).

Max: 16 participants

Please click here to register or request more information.

making compost











Food Forest (Forest Garden) Workshops

Whether you are urban or rural you can learn to 'think like a forest' and have an abundant multi-storey garden which can provide you with not only food but fuel, medicine, fibre, dye plants and more, and all for a lot less work than a classic vege garden.  For more information about food forests generally, click here.

Our two day Food Forest Workshop covers the history of designed food forests, and takes you through options for your own design process, implementation and maintenance stages. It includes aspects such as site assessment, shelter, water management, soils, designing in fertility and pest control, the seven layers of planting, guild design, appropriate species for various climates (primarily focused on Hawke's Bay), plant propagation and sourcing, and integration of animals. The August/September course can also be combined with a one day propagation workshop to make a three day course (see below).

Food Forest Workshops 2019:

Sat 13 & Sun 14th April

Sat 1 & Sun 2nd June (Queen's Birthday Weekend)

Sat 31 Aug & Sun 1 Sep (can combine with propagation workshop on Friday 30th August and receive a 10% discount on both courses!)

Cost: $320 per person, $550 for couple (2 people learning together).

What you get:

  • Tuition - theory and practical sessions
  • Site visits - tour the Kahikatea Farm food forest and see what works for us, and what we'd do differently!
  • Comprehensive resource book
  • Organic morning and afternoon tea
  • 10% discount on any nursery plants bought at the workshop

Max 12 participants. Please contact us for recommendations of accomodation options if you are not local. Please note we have no accomodation available at the farm.

Please click here to register or request more information.

Seed Sowing Workshop

A two hour hands-on workshop to learn how to successfully sow and then prick out a variety of vegetables and perennial companions to ensure strong and healthy plants in your garden. The workshop also covers potting mixes, growing conditions, direct sow vs transplanting seedlings.  You will have the opportunity to sow some seeds and prick out some seedlings to take home with you for planting. Price includes seeds and plants to take home, and a discount on any nursery plants bought on the day.

This is what previous participant Peter Meredith said:

As an enthusiastic amateur, I found your course thorough and informative, filling the gaps in my knowledge.  I can now sow seed with confidence, giving thanks to the little wonders of nature, knowing they will come through. Also, the seedling handling tips helps get them get to planting out stage. Looking forward to spring, thanks.

Seed Sowing Workshops 2019:

Sat Feb 16th 10.30 - 12.30

Sun March 10th 11.00 - 1.00

Other dates by arrangement.

Cost: $60 per person (includes plant material to take home)

Max: 10 participants

Please click here to register or request more information.


Propagation Workshop NEW!

Our full day hands-on workshop covers everything which is contained in the seed sowing workshop, as well as propagation by cuttings, division, layering, grafting and budding. You will be able to see the results of these methods in our nursery, and have the chance to try most of them yourself under the guidance of an expert, to ensure you come away with great plant material to grow on at home, and all your questions answered. This includes a 2 hour grafting session in which you will propagate your own apple trees to take home. Clare Buckner will be leading this session. Clare runs her own bioldynamic apple and plum orchard, Te Koha, and is a Fruit Production tutor at EIT, and a "core" (pun intended!) member of the local Tree Crops Association. 

Propagation Workshops 2019:

Fri 30th August 10.00 - 4.30

Sat 21st September 10.00 - 4.30

Cost:  $150 per person  (includes plant material to take home. Receive a 10% disccount on both courses when purchased with the food forest course the same weekend).

 Please click here to register or request more information.


Start Your Own Edible Garden Workshop

A one-morning workshop with a blend of theory and practice for beginner gardeners looking at getting started with an edible garden. Lots of tips and advice on incorporating organic and permaculture techniques to help you grow tasty nutritious food with a minimum of cost and effort. Course covers site assessment, watering requirements, soil & maintaining fertility, raised beds, crop rotation, suitable crops to grow for each season, pest control and of course your own personal gardening questions answered. Workshop takes place on site at Kahikatea Farm and includes morning tea. Discount on any plants purchased from our nursery on the day.

A previous participant says: "The tour of your garden was very useful and interesting. You are very knowledgable Jo and great at sharing that knowledge in an easy to understand way with beginners like me. I realised I really need to work on creating a better mix of vegetables and decorative plants but both with a useful slant. The handouts were brilliant and I am still refering to them every time I am in my garden, I also enjoyed the practical gardening bits, how you should try to garden with the least impact and how you can create areas for growing with little financial outlay. In fact I came home and went straight into my garden and layered up my vege beds with compost, wet paper and hay ready to plant up with the aid of my new best friend - the Niwashi! I also love your website and use it a lot for info on seedlings I have bought from you."

Start Your Own Edible Garden Workshops 2019:

no dates currently listed

Cost: $75 per person

Max: 8 participants

 Please click here to register or request more information.

Farm Tours

Join us for a guided tour of Kahikatea Farm and learn about permaculture and organic principles as we nibble our way around the home gardens and food forest. You'll also see the nursery and our newest projects and have the opportunity to buy plants at a discount. Tour includes hot and cold drinks and snacks. Please bring your own water bottle, sturdy footwear and appropriate clothing for the weather. 

2019 Dates:

Sun 10th March (can be added as a follow on from the seed sowing workshop in the morning - purchase both together and get $10 off the tour price!) 2.00 - 4.30

Sun 29th September 2.00 - 4.30

Sat 19th October 2.00 - 4.30

Sun 10th November 2.00 - 4.30

Cost: $25

Tours are subject to maximum and minimum numbers. Children free with an adult, under close supervision please. Strictly no dogs.

 Please click here to register or request more information.