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Courses and Workshops

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.

The 2019  courses and workshops schedule will be online very soon, please check back in a couple of days.

Introduction to Permaculture Design Course (4 days)

Food Forest Workshop (2 days)

Seed Sowing Workshop (2 hours)

Start Your Own Edible Garden Workshop (3.5 hours)

Garden Tour and Nursery Open days - watch this space for some spring dates

Please scroll down to see information including content, dates and prices on the courses listed above.

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:

Cost:  $380 - $430 sliding scale.  $600 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.

Food Forest Workshops 2019:


Cost: $300 per person, $500 for couple (2 people learning together).

What you get:

  • Tuition - theory and practical sessions
  • Site visits
  • 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.

Seed Sowing Workshop

A two hour hands-on workshop to learn how to successfully sow and then prick out a variety of vegetables and 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:

Other dates by arrangement.

Cost: $55 per person

Max: 10 participants

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 2018:


Cost: $75 per person

Max: 8 participants