Editor’s note:  As you may know, the Koanga Institute, started by Kay Baxter holds New Zealand’s premiere heritage seed and fruit tree collection. Kay is currently touring NZ to raise money to buy the land on which the has been established. Below is an email from naturopath Caroline Marshall explaining the importance of the tour.

Details of the talks may be found at this link www.koanga.org.nz


Hi All.

As you may already know funds are urgently required to buy the Koanga Institutes leasehold land, as the owners now want to sell it to commercial forestry interests, but have given Kay until June to come up with the money to buy it instead.

Yesterday, as a volunteer for the 3 Auckland talks, which are part of her nationwide FUND raising tour, I attended the 3 hr talk of NZ famous heritage seeds and tree saver, Kay Baxter of the Wairoa based, Koanga Institute.
Brilliant – everyone who cares about our food supply, our environment and the health and well being of ourselves and future generations needs to hear her!!!

Kay also talks about Dr Weston A Price.  Kay used to be the Weston A Price Foundation chapter leader for the Hawke’s Bay however isn’t anymore, I imagine, due to these more immediate pressing concerns.

This is more than a talk – the institute’s “shop” is traveling with them too.
Lots of booklets, a few select books, seed packs, and if you join the institute, ($45) then you receive an excellent garden planner which contains very practical and easy to follow useful information, such as, when to plant what and most importantly when to expect to be able to harvest your bounty from the heritage seeds!

Without being patronising or anything like that, the garden planner seems like a Gardening for Idiots guide really –  Kay seriously wants to make it very easy for everyone, despite many city folk being reluctant to do so, for whatever reason, sew a few seeds and feed themselves and maybe even share with others – just like we used to when I was growing up down country 🙂

I remember every time my mother and I visited her sisters and her rural friends we’d come home with cuttings of this and that plant, a box of veges and maybe some fruit.   As soon as we got home the cuttings would be kept in the newspaper wrapping but placed in the wash house tub until mum had time to plant it.   Despite raising three children on her own and working full time, mum dutifully planted silverbeet, carrots, parsnips, rhubarb, pumpkin, a lemon tree, maybe apple trees etc etc as she had grown up on a farm and therefore knew how to grow some food.
In our hot water cupboard I remember there often being seeds drying for various food plants, pumpkin seeds come to mind immediately, they were usually in recycled tins cans.   Mum’s great, great grand mother, Emily Marshall (yes I had Marshall’s on both of my parents sides of the family) was responsible for importing many of the old fashioned ornamental plants that are still around NZ – eg the South African Red Hot Poker.   NZ author and illustrator, Kerry Carmen, recorded those stories in an historical book called Emily’s Garden The Colonial New Zealand Garden of a Suffolk Lady.

Anyway I digress, please visit  www.koanga.org.nz  for further details about the Auckland talk and a list of the other places so far destined for a talk.

Kay would also like to hear from those of you who are in areas not listed, as they are keen to spread NZ grown food heritage far and wide, so may consider a talk closer to you.
They are also following up with teaching hands on WORKSHOPS following straight on from the speaking tour.

PLEASE PLEASE GO ALONG – support a vital cause and experience this very interesting & important talk again this Monday and Tuesday nights in Mt Eden, Auckland or coming up soon in other centres.

Please share far and wide.

Best regards,
Caroline    🙂

Caroline Marshall BHSc (Comp Med)
Naturopath-nutritionist-medical herbalist

Weston A Price Foundation
Chapter Leader for
South & East Auckland.