Getting to Know Niva & Yotam
What’s your number one saying?
Plants are amazing.
Where are you based?
Since 2014 we have been living at Pakaraka Farm in the Kauaeranga Valley near Thames in Hauraki.
What led you to permaculture ?
We were both born and raised in Israel. We met during an academic program for interdisciplinary environmental studies and peace leadership in 2006. Learning about the massive issues in chemical-industrial food production, we wanted to be a part of a solution and learn more about sustainable food production.
We continued our journey together ever since. Visiting and staying in Permaculture farms and eco-villages, studying and later teaching Permaculture design, mainly in Israel, Europe and Costa Rica, before arriving in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 2012.
We met many amazing people growing food and taking care of the land around them, which gave us a lot of inspiration.
What is your profession/passion and who are the people you share this with?
We founded Pakaraka Permaculture, an organic market garden and education centre for regenerative living, in 2014. We are passionate about regenerative local food production and teaching people how to grow more food in their homes and communities.
We fell in love with Pakaraka Farm and our farm partners. We graze sheep and cattle on the farm, have a flock of chickens, ducks, and geese, grow chestnuts, various fruit trees, and olives that we also press into olive oil. The farm is off-grid, and we collect spring water from the 180 acres of regenerating bush on the steep parts of the farm.
Although the farm is far from a perfect market gardening site, we decided to give it our best and concentrate on a ¼ acre. After a few years of refinement, we were able to grow over 8,000kg a season from this area, and make a living from it.
Our education consists of workshops we host on the farm, including home gardening, market gardening, fermentation and regenerative living skills. We are currently expanding our online education offering, which currently consists of an online market gardening course and will soon include home gardening.
Niva is also a filmmaker and the digital producer behind all our work. For the past two years, she had been working as director/produce/writer on a collaborative feature documentary about the school strike for climate movement. Her film, High Tide Don’t Hide, will premiere at the Doc Edge Film Festival in June.
How would your friends describe your sense of humour?
Niva: Sometimes cynical and sometimes silly and random.
Yotam: Good hearted dad jokes.
What's your personal take on Permaculture in New Zealand?
It is a lovely community of people. We love coming to the hui and other events. We met a lot of really great people and built meaningful relationships with like-minded folks.
What changes would you like to see for permaculture in the future?
It would be great for Permaculture to be integrated into mainstream institutions and learning curriculums- Relating both to design thinking and land management. This will also make it more accessible to a broader audience.
Your book is coming out next month, can you tell us about it?
We are really excited that our book, The Abundant Garden - A Practical Guide to Growing a Regenerative Home Garden, will be out in stores on the 20th of April.
We wrote this book together, which was a special process (and challenge) of its own. We are proud of what our combined perspectives and knowledge brought to life. The book is really comprehensive, offering simple, reliable strategies and techniques for growing vegetables organically and regeneratively. It has lots of pictures and hand-drawn illustrations, as well as informative tables. We think it is the kind of book you will come back to again and again for reference.
The book is already available for pre-orders on our website.
The Abundant Garden has simple, reliable strategies and techniques to help maximise your ability to feed yourself and share the abundance with those around you. With information on growing a wide variety of vegetables, there are also helpful charts to help you plan and plant your garden year-round. In addition there are details on how to grow microgreens, and great recipes for ferments, preserves and pickles to stock the pantry with your garden's bounty.
For some visual watching of their journey on Pakaraka visit www.pakarakafarm.co.nz/page/media