My wife and myself are currently frustrated at the amount of organic fruit and vegetables that are available and are considering selling our Christchurch home and moving into the country to start an organic farm. could you please give us any and all information that could help us get started. we are thinking about buying 20 acres in or around Karamea on the west coast. we are told that this area has a sub-tropical climate and are therefore contemplating growing some more exotic type fruits and vegetables. is this feasible in that area and is 20 acres enough. we also would like to know what books, courses and groups we might contact for help.
Sub tropical production around Karamea has to take into consideration high rainfall as a factor. Examining micro climates is important, rainfall distribution may vary, as well as temperatures with different locations.
There is definitely a market in Christchurch for more fresh organic produce, especially in the winter.
Are 20 acres enough? That depends entirely on what you want to grow and market. Twenty acres of market gardening are probably almost too much for one person with small machinery equipment ( eg no tractor), while for fruit production it may be just viable. Are all of the 20 acres equally usable?
Courses available are a distance programme for Certified Organic Production run by the Christchurch Polytechnic, starting mid August 2000, which is helping future or converting growers to develop a management and production plan around their property/operation. Contact WorsfoldR@chchpply.ac.nz
Another contact is the Canterbury Commercial Organic Growers at the Organic Garden City Trust (firstname.lastname@example.org).