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Niva and Yotam Kay, with their two daughters Lily and Dina, joined Pakaraka Farm in 2014. BELOW: the couple’s first book. Photo: JANE USSHER

Passion for permaculture shared in abundance

A book written by two Thames gardening gurus has topped the New Zealand nonfiction charts.
Niva and Yotam Kay of Pakaraka Permaculture, in the Kauaeranga Valley, published their first book, The Abundant Garden: A Practical Guide to Growing a Regenerative Home Garden, in April.
For two weeks in a row, it has topped the nonfiction best-sellers list.
“We didn’t expect that at all,” Niva said.
“It’s definitely been really heart-warming to see this reception. It’s also very exciting to know that so many people are going to be in their gardens and planting vegetables and thinking about their soil.”
Niva and Yotam have an abundance of experience with permaculture gardening.
They’ve honed their skills and shared their knowledge both in New Zealand and overseas. The pair’s book was now on to its second print, with copies arriving into New Zealand around May 16-17.
It detailed how to create and maintain a productive and regenerative vegetable garden, and included chapters close to Niva and Yotam’s hearts.
“We’ve put ourselves in so many of the chapters and each one is special to us. The vegetable chapter is particularly long,” Yotam laughed.
“But besides the gardening techniques, we’ve also added in recipes from the garden, and I’ve got my grandmother’s shakshuka recipe in there, so that’s a warm spot for me.”
The “comprehensive” book took around six months to write, and to those who now had it in their hands and were ready to get out in the garden, Yotam said the first thing to remember was location.
“I would encourage people to make sure their garden is in the best location around where they live. If they can, make sure it’s really visible and accessible, and it’s a place where you pass on a regular basis,” he said.
“You can see the vegetables smiling at you, and you can see the weeds calling you, and you can harvest things that are ready to harvest, and water what needs watering, because out of sight means out of mind, and a reproductive garden is in a place that’s accessible.”
Pakaraka Farm was established by Harry Parke and the late Jeanette Fitzsimons in 1991, and Niva and Yotam, and their two daughters Lily and Dina, joined in 2014.
It now doubled as an education centre for regenerative living, and an organic market garden. Going forward, Niva and Yotam will be busy processing more than 150 book orders, preparing for their May 22 Auckland TEDx Talk, and planning their eight-week gardening course, starting in July.
“For those people who can’t come here for a workshop, they can still have all the tools and all the knowledge with the book,” Niva said.
“What was really important for us was to make it accessible, to show that it was not rocket science, but it was really for everyone who wanted to garden.”
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