Courses and Workshops

Organic Gardening Workshops 2017- 2018

Offered by EcoDynamics and the Wairarapa Eco Farm CSA on practical topics related to ecological production systems. Places are limited and costs vary with discounts for members of the CSA/Early Bird.

Renovating Fruit Trees (OPC-3)

Saturday August 12 (12 – 4 pm), Greytown. $125.00 or CSA member/Early Bird $100.00.

Do you have any old or neglected fruit trees on your land that you would like to bring back into production? Attend this workshop and learn to renovate and upkeep your heritage trees. There will be a break for participants to enjoy refreshments. We’ll learn about tool maintenance and sharpening, too. Bring your own tools or use ours.

Soil Care and Tree Maintenance (OPC-4)

Saturday August 26 (12 – 4 pm), Greytown. $125.00 or CSA member/Early Bird $100.00.

Comprehensive exploration of orchard health strategies that make disease and insect challenges doable for the ecological grower, including lectures, discussions, question and answer periods inside and out. Learn what to expect in your orchard and how to manage it.

Home Orchard / Fruit Forest Design (OPC-5)

Saturday September 9 (12 – 4 pm), Greytown. $125.00 or CSA member/Early Bird $100.00.

A well-designed orchard/ fruit forest means that you can be self-sufficient in fruit all year-round. Establishing an orchard or fruit forest on your lifestyle block can involve a good deal of work, and money, so it’s worth doing some careful planning before taking a spade to the soil. If you get it right, it will reward you with fresh and healthy home-grown fruit and nuts. This workshop covers topics such as planning & planting, pollination, space, size & light, extending the season.

Summer Orchard Care (OPC-6)

Saturday October 28 (12 – 4 pm), Greytown. $125.00 or CSA member/Early Bird $100.00.

Learn tips and tricks to caring for your orchard through the summer and getting your orchard to a successful harvest in the late summer and autumn. Frank van Steensel will instruct the course and answer any questions you may have.

Introduction to Organic Gardening – Course (OFG-1); 50/50 theory and practical.

8 Saturday afternoons (12-4 pm): Sept. 23, Oct. 7 & 21, Nov. 4 & 18. And continued on Feb. 10 & 24 and March 10, 2018. Greytown. $800.00 or CSA member/Early Bird $725.00.

Learn the basic philosophy and techniques of organic gardening and small scale farming. If you are already gardening, or thinking about starting a garden, it makes sense to do it organically, without the use of synthetic fertilizers or toxic pesticides and herbicides. By growing food organically you will make the most of the health benefits of raising and eating your own home grown food, while at the same time enriching your garden soil.

This workshop is designed as a hands-on basic introduction to the principles of successful organic gardening in the Lower North Island. Over a period of 8 sessions dived over the warmer half of the growing year, this course covers subjects such as organics’ historical roots, soil properties, soil care, composting, diversification, crop rotation, plant care (pests & diseases), crops and crop care, harvesting and post-harvest. (Also available as one day workshops).

General workshop info

  • These workshops will be mostly out of doors, so please dress appropriately for potentially wet, cold, and muddy conditions.
  • Discounts available for CSA members and/or early bird registrations. Email Josje on
  • Cancellation Policy: Workshops are non-refundable and transferable (feel free to send someone in your place). We require a minimum of 8 participants for each workshop to go ahead. You will be fully refunded should your workshop be cancelled.


Frank van Steensel (BSc, MAgSc) and Josje Neerincx (BSc, Dip Rural Devt.) are walking the talk and have both over 20 years of practical experience as certified organic market gardeners, and currently running the Wairarapa Eco Farm CSA. As an independent adviser (EcoAgriLogic, EcoDynamics, 1996-.) Frank works with commercial vineyards, orchards, market gardens and botanic gardens to improve sustainability. Frank has taught NZQA Organic Horticulture Courses, been the national research and development coordinator of OANZ and been on the board of the Biodynamic Association, Soil & Health and Wairarapa Organics Inc.

Transport & Accommodation

To accommodate Wellington participants, workshops fit nicely with the Saturday Wellington -Wairarapa train service. There is a shuttle bus to/from the train station. Check with Josje to organise ( Accommodation (race course, from $20pp) or tent sites (farm, koha) are available on request.

EcoDynamics Mentoring Programme

An organic lifestyle is a dream for many. However, many give up, or do not make it past the dreaming stage and the dreams are thrown into the too-hard basket as the realities seem too complex.
Now you can tap into the knowledge and expertise of long term certified organic producer and soil care specialist Frank van Steensel through the EcoDynamics Connect Mentoring programme. If you are dreaming, interested or already developing your farm or growing food for the market but in need of help, get in contact with us. For a set subscription fee of your choice you can contact Frank by telephone conversations, video calling and/or face-to-face meetings and he will guide you along with your growing project.
Frank will be able to share his knowledge, experience, and organic business insider views to help you identify your goals and fulfil your potential. It's an opportunity to develop communication skills, to listen, learn and expand your viewpoints which in turn may help you find new ways to approach new situations and deal with challenges. 

Agro Ecology Course

After a break, we are very excited to once again offer experiential learning programmes in agro-ecology and soil quality. These programmes are rooted in agro-ecological and soil quality science and related methodologies such as organics, biodynamics, and permaculture.

These programmes are tailored specifically for those interested in food quality and community development. Our objective is to train you for meaningful jobs within our community, using our community's resources.

By focusing on agro-ecology and soil quality, we create systems that produce food quality and environmental care and a solid foundation for genuine progress in rural/community development. This requires practising inclusive thinking.

General overview of our training course content:

  1. Agro-ecology and food quality - an introduction (Meaning of the course, who we are/what we stand for, redesigning farming systems so that they actually produce food quality and environmental care, what are we redesigning with: the tools, the design elements) Often courses fail to recognise the tools and/or put them into proper spots. Recognise design elements: 2,3,4, 5 and 6 are how you use them.
  2. Soils
  3. Crops and meadows, genetics and diversity
  4. Animals, genetics and diversity
  5. Maintaining/increasing the throughput system - 
  6. functional use of the design elements
  7. You as a farm manager - needs assessment/future; adaptive management (Tools: Monitoring, evaluation, and implementation. Taking the lessons learned about the current functions of the design elements and change it for the better).

Various Training programs on offer:

  1. Internship
  2. 30 week part-time course.
  3. Guided Weekend training programmes for family farms. We visit the 8 to 12 couples / participants on their properties:  to discuss points 1 to 6 above, over the 8-12 training sessions. Participating properties are used as examples. In essence we are combining teaching a course with giving advice.