We Own a Farm
It’s a dream come true. Our small Steiner school community has firmly grasped its future as a farm based school. March 19th is now a significant date in our history, the day we became owners of a 13.6 hectare farm (33.6 acres).
It is hard to believe that only six months ago we had no suitable land options. Our hope of buying land at Atamai Eco Village was dashed by the civil engineering report that forecast huge costs for earthworks. We then investigated our “plan B” site but that also proved too difficult and expensive.
With no options on the table it was time for fresh thinking which lead to boldness. We identified the most desirable site for a farm school near Motueka, and went knocking on the door. It isn’t easy to cold call at someone’s house and ask if they want to sell their farm. It is even more uncomfortable knowing you don’t have the money. In our favour we had a vision, boldness and faith, and it was my birthday. Something special and miraculous happen that day. We received a warm welcome that lead to a meeting, then more meetings, then an invitation to make an offer. The angels were helping us. Before making an offer we needed the money, so calls were made to supporters. To our immense delight we soon had the pledges to enable a serious offer. The deal was then taken to the school community for consideration, and was endorsed.
The farm owners were George and Gwen Bunn. After more than 40 years farming this land they did not find it an easy decision to sell. We are very grateful that they accepted our offer. The deal was signed on the last day of school for 2014, what a fantastic end to the school year.
The farm is mostly running sheep plus a 1.2 hectare pear orchard, a dam and lake. The Tasman District experienced a severe drought last summer and it was interesting to see the land in these conditions. The pear orchard was irrigated from the lake and the water level remained high. Other smaller water sources dried up. It will take some time for us to learn the land and develop a permaculture plan for it. We will leave the sheep and orchard for now and start some tree planting. The goal is to develop the farm on biodynamic principles so that it becomes a thriving ecosystem that provides both food and habitat for people and animals.
The farm is now owned by the school community and it will provide us with a home for our school plus a place where we can come together to learn, to respect nature and grow quality organic food. Our organisation aims to maximise social, environmental and educational outcomes, rather than financial outcomes. We also take a multi generational view to the care and development of the land. Tristan Vincent has been appointed land manager. We welcome families to join our school, our farm and our community. See the news item in the Nelson Mail