Pakaraka Permaculture

Organic Market Garden, Permaculture, Sustainble Living, Off Grid Farm


Pakaraka Permaculture Training program 2018-2019

We are excited to offer this unique training program for aspiring market gardeners and homesteaders. Ten weeks of practical hands-on learning combined with workshops, classes and personal projects. During the programs time frame, you will be a part of our farm’s team, working alongside us on the farm, doing what we do. We believe that this integrative style of learning is the ultimate platform to up-skill and empower a new generation of growers. We love what we do, and are excited to share this experience.

The core aspects of the program are:
Market Gardening
Small Scale Farming

Gardens Feb 2017.png
Harry Fostering.jpg

Market Gardening

As we will be working together in the market garden you will get valuable insights about how our operation functions. During the market gardening workshop, you will get a comprehensive view about how our business functions. As the weeks go by, you will practice and become proficient in all the fundamental aspects of market gardening: bed preparation, plant propagation, transplanting & direct seeding, crop care, weeding, watering, tool maintenance, harvesting a diversity of crops, post harvesting of vegetables, salads and microgreens production.


We are passionate about homesteading and sustainable living. We love providing for ourselves from the abundance the farm has to offer. These are some of the things that we will be doing -

Cooking with farm produce, fermenting and preserving, milking the house cow, making yogurt and cheese.

Cultivating a home garden, taking care of fruit trees and establishing a home orchard.

Small scale poultry.

Small Scale Farming

Much is involved in operating a small scale diverse organic farm. During the duration of the program, you will gain experience on various farm tasks. From fencing, firewood management, moving animals to weed control, we will work together in related farm tasks relevant for the season.

Personal Project

During your time here you will choose a personal project related to one of the three core aspects of the program. This is an opportunity for you to delve deep, to experiment, and follow your passion. Choose from a list of projects we will offer. We are also open to other ideas which will fit in with our operation needs. There is a vast range of learning opportunities to be gained. We will mentor you through design and implementation of your chosen project, on which you will work during designated weekly sessions.  


Applications are now open for the training program starting 5th October 2018 and ending 15th December 2018.

Application deadline is 1st June 2018, and results will be sent by 11th June 2018.

This is a full-time program, 5 to 6 days a week depending on workshops, so expect to get yourself immersed in the farm. The average week will consist of 4 days of hands on learning, and half day of your personal project. Please see the workshop schedule bellow.
We base our work and weekly schedule according to the weather. For example, on hot summer days, we tend to start early, stop for a siesta in midday and continue work in the evening. During Spring and Autumn, we tend to be active from 8 am to 5 pm. 


Workshop Schedule

6/10 (Saturday) Beginners Home Gardening Workshop

7/10 (Sunday) Microgreens Workshop

12/10 (Friday) Keeping Chickens and Ducks Workshop

21-22/10 (Saturday & Sunday - Labor weekend) Two Days Market Gardening Workshop

3/11 (Saturday) Ferment, Preserve, Pickle Workshop

18/11 (Sunday) Livestock on a Small Block

1/12 (Saturday) Advanced Home Gardening Workshop

We reserve the right to make changes to the workshop schedule. We guarantee that all content will be delivered throughout the program.



While this program is primarily aimed for aspiring small scale market gardeners, it will also be highly beneficial for those who wish to be self-sufficient and grow most of their own food on a small block. We will mostly be working as a group, but we will also split to various tasks.
We run this program twice a year, each time we will be accepting three passionate individuals who

1. Are serious about growing food, and are considering a livelihood in growing food for market.

2. Wish to continue their learning about sustainable living and homesteading skills.

3. Are physically fit, emotionally mature, independent, enjoy teamwork, have prior experience working outdoors and love it.

4. Kids friendly (: 



1. We will provide you with mostly local and organic produce. You will be making your own breakfasts, evening dinners and cooking on your days off. 4 days a week Yotam & Niva will cook lunch and share it together, and one evening you will dine with Harry & Jeanette. Once a week we will all have evening barbeque.

Cleaning of your personal & communal living space is your responsibility.

We will gladly pick you up from the bus station in Thames, and welcome you to join us on our trips to town. We still recommend you organise your transport to and from the farm by car or bicycle (we are 7km from Thames town centre).

We cannot house partners or pets on the farm.

There is no smoking on the farm, and we ask for responsible consumption of alcohol.

Applicant must have a valid tourist visa, work visa or NZ residence.


Camping area:

Camping will be either under the pecan orchard, besides the river or above the gardens across the gully, depending on the time of year. River facilities include; outside covered kitchen, hot shower, lights & phone charging (that’s new!), and composting toilets. The Facilities above the gardens include a communal 5m bell tent. You will need to provide a tent/caravan/van. We recommend a tent that can handle moderate winds and is big enough to be a comfortable private space for you.
The campsites have mobile reception, and you can charge your laptop at our house, where you can use high-speed wifi (for all uses except big file downloading). There is also free internet available at the Thames library.



Program fees are $2,850 for the 10 weeks period and include;
Food supplies for the entire program, mostly local and/or organic produce.
Camping facilities.
Workshops, field training and project mentorship.

We take this training program very seriously, as we open up our lives, livelihoods and skill-sets. You will gain skills that will escort you for the rest of your life. We also understand that not everyone has means to invest this amount in their education. We offer to assist those in need by considering together different options that would aid their payment, such as finding sponsors, opening a give-a-little page, etc.  

On completion of the program, you will receive a certificate of completion 450 hours in organic small-scale farming training. 

We ask for a 50% deposit of the program fees the week after you had been accepted to the program. The remainder 50% program fees should be cleared four weeks before the start of the program unless otherwise agreed.


How to apply:
This application is an opportunity, for both you and us, to determine if your expectations and this internship are a good match. Please answer the questions below to the best of your ability, with honesty and clarity. We do not discriminate on any basis.

1. Please tell us briefly about yourself. Hobbies, your favourite food, things you love doing.

2. What interests you about our farm and this program?

3. Have you ever had experience working on a farm? Please describe.

4. How do you see this program assisting you in your personal and professional development?

5. What experience are you bringing to the program, and what practical skills do you hope to acquire?

6. Have you ever worked as part of a group? What were the most challenging things for you when working or living with others?

7. We raise animals for meat on the farm. What is your perspective on the role animals play on a small farm?

8. Do you have any allergies, food restrictions, physical limitations or mental illnesses that might affect your ability to live in a rural setting and do farm work?

9. Will you be able to attend the full duration of the program?

10. What is your favourite vegetable?

Please send a completed application and a picture of you to this email address:

Thank you very much for your interest, and for sharing this information with us, we will not share your application with anyone else. We will get back to you within a few days confirming we have received your application, and get back to you with an answer up to two weeks from when registration ends.
Please send your application as soon as you have decided to apply. The program is limited to 3 participants, and we get dozens of applications a year.

Cancellation Policy

  • In cancellation of up to four weeks before the start of the program, you will get a 100% refund. In cancellation, under four weeks 50% refund will be given. 

  • We reserve the right to terminate participation in the program at any stage, in instants of violent or dangerous behaviour, without a refund.  

Jose. Photo by Niva Kay


By Jose Miguel Leon Roda, Peru

"My stay of 10 weeks has been amazing. This place is blessed by nature and the people working for wellbeing and sustainability. I am thankful for have been chosen to be part of the first training program and all the projects done and learnings obtained here. Niva and Yotam have developed a remarkable organic market garden from scratch and are succeeding for following their strong ideals, dreams and principles while raising their two lovely girls, Dina and Lily, which is a show of non-stop hard work. Jeanette and Harry are an example of perseverance and fighters, defending the native bush and other environmental causes throughout the years. I won’t forget Luna, the lovely and best Kelpie ever! Beside everything done and learned here, I also found my family in New Zealand. They represent very good friends and professionals over whom I can rely and count with. I’m sure that they will continue to achieve their dreams and make true all the plans they got for the future. Please continue with all that energy and positive vibe that characterize you and Pakaraka. You rock!!!

Adie and cucumbers


By Adrienne Gordon

I'm incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to study and live at Pakaraka Farm. Throughout the 10 week course I was both challenged and supported, allowing me to gain the confidence and skills needed to be a market gardener.

Yotam's drive, positivity and enthusiasm and Niva's admirable ethics combine to create an impressive and successful lifestyle and business. It's brilliant to see people not only growing organic food, but also consuming only organic and local or fair-trade food.

As well as teaching the skills needed to grow, care for and harvest all the crops in the garden, Yotam consulted us about development decisions, encouraging problem solving and meaning our work had a lasting impact on the farm. I enjoyed the culture of communication and of continuous learning, with feedback encouraged at the end of each week and an extensive library on market gardening books that I wish I'd read more of!

The land itself is beautiful, tranquil and engaging, with a stunning swimming spot and hike up the hill. It's inspiring to hear Harry and Jeanette's approach to developing the land, allowing a large percentage to regenerate as native bush and working tirelessly for over 20 years to create a home that is focused on community and self sufficiency. Working with them gave us a more holistic view of organic farm management and the benefit of their years of experience living a low impact lifestyle.

I leave this farm a much happier, nourished and enthusiastic person with the skills to do the thing that I love and that means the world to me. Thanks so much everyone at Pakaraka Farm.

Pakaraka Permaculture