Stefan Sobkowiak – Beyond Organic

This two hour interview makes for an important addition to the knowledge shared in the Permaculture Orchard film. In it Stefan talks about the next piece of the puzzle, soon to be released from Miracle Farm.

The podcast which has just come online, would have gone longer if Stefan hadn’t excused himself to join a scheduled conversation with John Allan of APW and myself. We needed to talk about the Masterclass Stefan will be leading at Unitec Auckland next year, as part of the Beyond Organic NZ Tour.

Stefan looking seriousFor New Zealanders the survivalist concepts that are promoted in the lead-in may seem foreign, and you can of course skip them and jump to 8m:40sec, or you may wind up asking, what’s happening in the USA? What’s being expressed there is an expression of people responding to the increasing uncertainty and rapid change that is underway across the world – we’re just each experiencing it differently.

Now, onto the interview on The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko.

Up front we hear about Stefan’s background and having a Masters degree in both Biology and Landscape design, before learning what got him inspired to set up a Permaculture Orchard. We find a man with a deep desire to maximise the positive impact he can have on the world around him, and as the minutes turn into hours, we start to appreciate the gifts he’s offering.


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Building community like a forest

The first New Zealand Food Forest Hui, held in Auckland last week was a high energy and over-subscribed event (we had sold out and had people in a waiting list). Here are some of the highlights and outcomes. If you missed it, stay in touch, there’s sure to be another!

Building community like a forest

Lucia Pic 2 - lunch on the deckWhile we spoke at the Hui, about food forestsand forest gardens, we also modelled living like a forest – each playing our part in an intricate eco-system of exchanges.


Our forest layers were represented by age, stature, flexibility, stores of knowledge, experience, wisdom and more.

We celebrated what is, embraced the possibilities of what could be and committed to practical actions to support the vision.

Imagine food forest projects popping up all over the country, on public land, on private land, for community benefit, for individual food security and well-being, and for commercial gain. We were united around this vision of building New Zealand’s food self-reliance through resilient, multi-layered, mostly perennial food systems, all the while remaining grounded and caring for each other.

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Food Forest in a box

Andy's FF in a window sill

Have you ever wondered how many plants you might need for a food forest? Well take a look at this, and you’ll get a good feeling for the numbers.

Andy Cambeis is spending some time on Waiheke and we got together on the weekend to go over the wording of his “Manual for creating a Food Forest on Public Land“. We did this because of a couple of bright young women – a publisher and a graphic designer – who are working to turn this into an app for iPhone and iPad, and which I hope we’ll get a preview of at the Food Forest Hui at the end of September.

While I was there Andy kindly allowed me to shoot this video which shows the volume of plants he is raising in a window sill in the house where he’s staying. While he has a few more canopy trees than would be included in a 700SqM ‘pod’, and there are no climbers represented, this is the essence of the plants needed for a temperate food forest pod.

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Dick Smith and Sam Johnson at important Queenstown event


Dick Smith has been quite outspoken about his views on energy and population, so this event could be an opportunity to have some open honest discussion, on important topics. If you know people in the Queenstown area, please let them know about this.

An Afternoon with Dick Smith & Sam Johnson

hosted by Rod Oram

September 14th, 2012


Dick Smith at the ruinsDon’t miss out on an amazing afternoon hearing Dick Smith talk in Queenstown. Dick Smith is one of Australasia’s most progressive business leaders having founded Dick Smith Electronics, Australian Geographic Magazine, and Dick Smith Foods. Come along to hear him talk about what drives him as a leading entrepreneur and what he sees as the challenges and opportunities for the future.




Sam sitting under a tree wearing an NZ 'heart' CHCH teeHe will be joined by Sam Johnson, an inspiring and action-orientated young New Zealander who is best known for initiating the Student Volunteer Army in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes. One of their current projects is The Concert: A Concerted Effort where youth are asked to volunteer 4 hours of their time in return for a free ticket to the best concert the South Island has seen!




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"Resilience by Design" 11th Australasian Permaculture Convergence

Hope you are all well as we head into the last month of the year.

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Signs of Change Conference on YouTube

You may want to bookmark this one for some holiday viewing.

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David Suzuki and beyond

He didn't leave us with a lot of hope, and understandably. The population growth statistics, and our impact on the life support systems we depend on, are hard arguments to refute. The biggest thing I was grateful for, was to test the ideas I have been preparing to share at the Signs of Change conference on Monday. I was happy for that, and feel I am on the right track. » Read more

350's 10/10/10 Global Climate Working Bee - time to get involved

350.org 2010 Presentation

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Transition Town Brooklyn Summer! Celebration (& AGM) All welcome!


Join us to celebrate our 2009 community achievements & dream for 2010!

BYO nibbles, elder flower & honey tipples, tea/coffees+ cake supplied.

World Premiere + TT Video: “A Frocking Good Swap”

Koha appreciated

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