The vision of the Institute was born out of 30 years of collecting heritage fruit trees, vegetables and flowers by Kay Baxter and others. This nationally important collection (of over 800 heritage seeds and 400 fruit trees and berries) is in turn built on the foundation of hundreds of generations of gardeners and farmers who have nurtured the biodiversity and cultural heritage upon which our civilisation has developed (we have co-evolved with our food plants).
The initial work of the Koanga Institute’s was in response to the fact that globally, in the last 100 years, much of the genetic biodiversity and cultural knowledge of our food plants has disappeared ,as a result of the industrialization of our food production, and that we needed to save the remaining remnants. Much has been achieved over the last 30 years. However, throughout the world, ‘seed savers’, and many others, have come to the wider realisation that it is not just the ecology of our food that has been compromised by industrialization. We now understand that many other aspects of our “human ecology” have likewise been compromised, and we can’t address single issues (e.g. seed saving) in isolation. Seed saving is just one aspect of the broader need to address our “human ecology” within an industrial culture.
Thus, while we are best known for our efforts in seed conservation and bio-intensive gardening, we are also committed to contributing to practical holistic solutions in the wider field of design and development of regenerative systems. Our work includes:-
The protection, conservation and development of the genetic and cultural heritage of our food plants and domestic animals.
- The research and promotion of biointensive gardening and biological agriculture as an alternative to current industrial agriculture.
- The research and promotion of traditional food processing and selection.
- The research, and promotion, of the combined nutritional and health benefits of heritage plants, biological agriculture and traditional foods
- The research and promotion of appropriate technology and natural house building to support autonomous low cost homes.
- The research and promotion of systemic change in our economic culture to support regenerative living. In particular our support of the development of a village community in Wairoa, Northern Hawkes Bay (Kotare Village) and bioregional community development
- Sharing our knowledge and experience through the provision of ; seeds, plant material, trees, catalogues, our website, workshops, Permaculture Design Courses, internships, apprenticeships, books and booklets, published articles, film, consultancy, design and development services, and business partnerships.
- We are active supporters of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and the Permaculture Research Institute network.