I was raised in my early childhood in rural Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, where my family lived a self-provisioning lifestyle complete with home gardens, fruit trees, hunting, and fishing. This continued when my family moved to the coastal community of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula where my father engaged in commercial long-line fishing until he died when I was 13.
I left school at the age of 17, had a few casual jobs, then moved to Auckland City to become a health & fitness instructor. (Although at the time, my motivations may have been garnering the attention of girls rather than strictly health.) My 10-year career in the health & fitness industry included participation in some amateur body building competitions. Along the way, I realized that the basic nutritional knowledge I gained through these activities (plus looking like a superhero) did not add up to optimal health. It was at this time that I decided to plant my first vegetable garden.
With a passion for learning (and socializing), I enrolled in Auckland University where I received a degree in history, followed by a degree in ecology. Upon completing this second degree, I acquired a job running an inner-city community organic garden, which operated a works-skills programme for people undergoing mental health and/or substance rehabilitation. With the birth of my two children, I felt it was important to raise children in a healthy environment with clean air to breath, pure water to drink, and nutritious food to eat. Coupled with an increasing awareness of the various environmental, social, and economic issues facing humanity, my wife and I made the decision to leave the city. We purchased our own homestead and spent seven years growing organic vegetables for regional farmer’s markets, using low-input, low-tech organic growing methods to produce a livelihood for ourselves. From this experience, research, and contemplation, I recognised that soil biology and seed genetics were essential to producing high vitality, nutrient-rich food for optimal personal health. I have also realized there are wider social & economic issues at play that need to be addressed as well for us to efficiently produce high vitality, nutrient rich food and I am now looking to address some of these issues through helping to create a “Village of Homesteads” and work within a larger “mixed farm” framework.
I am now looking to contribute to a community of motivated people who want to have a positive impact on the world. Until I can make this dream a reality, I will be a travelling Kiwi Gardener, moving around and helping others in the Northland region improve their gardens. I will continue to learn and strengthen my skills as to be a better support to others, both locally and to our online community!