Regenerative economies: $100,000 growing permaculture kale

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, October 11th, 2020 - 56 comments
Categories: economy, farming - Tags: , , , , , ,

I wrote in August, in The fragility of our food supply,

A comment was made recently that no-one gets paid $100,000 growing permaculture kale, and this is the income needed for a house. It was a throwaway, dismissive comment so I’m not linking to it, but it was in the context of job creation and my position that we have an opportunity this year to create sustainable jobs not just replacement jobs as fragile as the ones we’re losing. We also have an obligation, because this isn’t the last pandemic we will face and we also have the climate and ecological crises on the horizon as well as Peak Oil, GCF and so on.

An episode of Country Calendar last year was a master class in sustainability and regenerative horticulture and economy. Sustainable here refers to whole systems that are designed around certain principles such as closed loops and zero waste, whereby the system can sustain itself indefinitely without being overly extractive or creating problematic waste.

Regenerative refers to the capacity of such systems to restore biodiversity and fertility over time, particularly the soil.

The Country Calender episode was about young Thames couple, Yotam and Niva Kay, who are market gardening on the farm they co-own with the late Jeanette Fitzsimons and her husband Harry Parke.

Some highlights of their venture:

Making a living

In the previous year Yotam and Niva Kay took $80,000 worth of produce from a quarter acre garden. This year they hope to take $100,000.

They work hard, and long hours, and they get extra income from teaching organic horticulture and permaculture. Part of the regenerative system is sharing knowledge so that other people can also grow food and create ways of making a living.

Relocalising the (low carbon) economy

Their produce is sold locally, to restaurants and farmers market. This lowers the cost to our carbon budget compared to food that is grown at the other end of the country or overseas, and also sidesteps the conventional supply chain that often ships food over the same distance twice. More money stays in the local economy.

Land Sharing

One of the major impediments to relocalising food and supporting regenerative agriculture and horticulture is the current market values on land. In the absence of a government prepared to resolve the housing crisis anytime soon, one of the work arounds is for people to share land.

In this case, Fitzsimons and Parke sold a half share of their farm to the Kays. This is mutually beneficial. Fitzsimons,

“Practically, it means that when the water supply goes off there’s someone to go up the very steep, awkward track to fix it for us,” Fitzsimons says, “but, more importantly, there are three generations living on the land and that’s how we like it.”

This values based. These two families are re-establishing family farming, where commitment to land and growing food is prioritised over realising capital gains.

There are obviously degrees of financial privilege involved in that set up, so we need additional models of how people without assets can make a living from small scale farming.

The episode of Country Calendar is on youtube (24m), and this shorter crowdfunding video from a few years ago shows some of the set up and the markets where they sell,

Political Challenges

Fitzsimons mentioned the problems with the Food Act and how the work involved in compliance far outweighs the benefits for small producers (in Fitzsimon’s case it was paper work, but it can also be things like excessive costs involved in specialist inspections). This is a common theme across NZ, arising from regulations designed around large producers. What needs to happen here is a tiered system of regulations that balance safety with encouraging small growers.

Small scale market gardening doesn’t need to replace large farms, but is an important component of food security. We still have international obligations to produce food for export, especially because of climate change. It’s reasonable to secure our own food supply as well as looking at sustainable production to assist other places that will no longer be able to grow their own or that have periodic shortages.

From an interview in June,

Niva: There’s also a lot of misunderstanding and conflict within this industry where people think you need to grow large crops with a lot of land, but in our studies we focus on producing more food, of better quality, in more efficient ways – where huge land mass isn’t required.

Yotam: We wanted to take the challenge to see how much food we could grow sustainably on a small plot and see how we could make a livelihood from that. We wanted to prove a point in a way – that it can be done – and actually, it has to be done.

Fitzsimon’s and Parke’s generation were able to buy their farm when the price of land made some kind of sense in relation to income. No longer true, at some point New Zealand will have to lower current land prices, it’s simply not possible to create jobs in a sustainable and regenerative climate change world that are paid well enough to keep up with a neoliberally driven property market. But people shouldn’t wait for this and we urgently need new models and regulations that enable people to own land collectively.

An additional problem here is the housing crisis push for building more suburbs and not paying attention to the ecological or regenerative value of the land. We have to stop building on top of fertile land, and instead adopt an integrated approach where food security, housing, local jobs climate action/mitigation, and the economy are seen as part of the same picture.


Pakaraka Farm kale (photo via Stuff)

56 comments on “Regenerative economies: $100,000 growing permaculture kale ”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    Unfortunately the episode of Country Calendar is no longer available,

    Just about the only program I miss, not watching telly.

    • weka 1.1

      you beauty! Didn't even think to look there, but that's fantastic as they've done quite a few regenag episodes now.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        If Hyundai sponsored that – they may have them in their archives. Some outfit should. They will be looked back on with longing as much as the early MontyPythons? tapes which were wiped and reused.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Good article, weka. The core of their project is market garden, which requires sustained work to manage; market gardeners work hard! The couple receive a good deal of encouragement from their customers and "circle" of supporters; other organic growers, students of permaculture and so on and this as an important factor in their progress; today's conventional farmers are feeling put-upon by the public, rather than supported by them and would benefit from reflecting on why these folk are buoyed by the social environment the inhabit. Farms like theirs are considered niche presently, as is my forest garden, but visionary people can see the need for land to be managed in these ways broad scale, replacing and supplementing conventional agriculture, attracting young people back out of the cities, reforming rural communities, connecting grower with consumer; spreading the load and lessening the weight of society on rural land, by which I mean more people living in the countryside, making less negative impact than livestock farming through their regenerative, restorative practices. In the same way that a sponge absorbes water, rural landscapes of this nature would attract and accomodate travellers in great numbers, folding them into the farming world elegantly, providing them with meaningful activities and opportunities to learn, clean water to drink, healthy food to eat, a landscape that speaks a softer, more nuanced language than it does presently and as well, foster an open, interactive community of people with a new relationship with the world that grows.

  3. WeTheBleeple 3

    I like your thinking with regards to planning in a more integrated manner. Each space we occupy needs to account for nature more than sufficiently to keep that space both thriving & resilient. Forcing the landscape to our bidding produces enormous work and expense, and downstream costs the likes of which now imperil life as we know it.

    If there is reasonable reward for working land hard, and it is worked sustainably, as per the example, I see no real issues with this type of system except the complexity is daunting to a layman.

    We have many great examples to go by today. Organic urban farms in US can be highly profitable, and are very similar to the example here. Many urban farmers are using their neighbors sections and expanding in that manner, taking on workers, building markets and relationships. It's good stuff. Marketing is all new and innovative too. Direct to chefs, or families adjacent to the business. They'll put up what they have for sale online and people buy it then they go out and do deliveries. Some others are forming adjacent businesses, appropriate tools and tech to help them.

    Food forests. Regen-ag farms. Market gardens. Mixed silvoculture/ag. So many great models to learn from and get stuck into.

    I'm working on a new crop (at least in NZ) now where someone should be able to make a reasonable living off 2 acres. They'd have to work for it, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of work. There is a main crop, and several support species some of which can be brought to market.

    While biodiversity's important – in the above example, being the only game in town, their bit of everything approach is VERY intensive. But if a group of gardeners in one area each specialised in one or two main crops, plus variety to keep their system humming and site beautiful… it will become easier to provide even wider diversity, while making such operations easier to run, thus feasible for more folks to do.

    I agree with everything Robert says. I'd add that even some of our regen-ag farmers are feeling put upon. Recognition of transformational systems when they are sorely required is – sorely required.

    • Robert Guyton 3.1

      I'm very pleased to read your comments again, WTB, after what seems like an absence of some time. You mention a "new crop"! Of course I'm intrigued, but also noting that you didn't name the plant; can you tell me at least, would it grow in Riverton 🙂

      I'm grafting heritage apples today. At this point, we've "released" around 10 000 back into the region; they're all out there growing on farms, in suburban back yards, on reserves etc. It's encouraging. My own nursery is cranking, as they say, and the seeds I sowed in autumn are erupting now, in time to be potted-up. If I achieve nothing else in my stay, I'll at least be able to comfort myself with the thought that I helped reforest the place. About the regenerative farmers; my belief is that the greatest transformation to individuals will come, not from their field-days, lectures or shared videos, but in the field, where the multi-plant pastures; vetch, plantain, buckwheat, phacelia, sunflowers, hickory etc. etc. they are creating to replace the "industrial" ryegrass paddocks, will "speak" to them in a way monocultures can't and that experience of seeing complexity and diversity where just one crop grew, will demonstrate to them, at a "heart" level, how the living world wants to be. From there on, their own intelligence will set the path for better farming.

      • WeTheBleeple 3.1.1

        Riverton's off the cards I'm afraid Robert. Working with subtropical species. Keeping it low key for now – watching seed stock create seed stock, adapting to local conditions. Two years till there's enough propagules to occupy an acre. A long project.

        I'm really looking forward to being my own boss again. I guess I am now. Edit: I'm really looking forward to being paid for my efforts again.

    • weka 3.2

      I agree about the challenge of complexity. Wish that we were teaching systems thinking at school, right from the start. Probably one of our biggest barriers to responding to climate and biodiversity crises right now.

      While biodiversity's important – in the above example, being the only game in town, their bit of everything approach is VERY intensive. But if a group of gardeners in one area each specialised in one or two main crops, plus variety to keep their system humming and site beautiful… it will become easier to provide even wider diversity, while making such operations easier to run, thus feasible for more folks to do.

      Interesting idea. It would probably bring the prices down too 😉 And as you say, finding the crops that do well in an area and working with nature rather than imposing. Getting food eaters/customers on board with seasonal eating.

      • weka 3.2.1

        I see a lot of the regenag etc farms and projects as leading edge at the moment, and once the mainstream gets more on board there will be cross-pollination and adaptation to a transition model for many growers, whereby the realities of the economics can be married with the move to new models. Exciting stuff.

  4. joe90 4

    In the previous year Yotam and Niva Kay took $80,000 worth of produce from a quarter acre garden. This year they hope to take $100,000.

    At $45 a pop, of course they can.

    To add extra items to your box, please choose from the drop down menu.

    The following items are available:

    The Best Salad Ever $12/240g

    The Best Salad Ever $6/120g

    Rainbow Microgreens Mix $8/100g

    Head Lettuce $3.5

    Carrot Bunch $6

    Flower Bouquet Large $25

    Flower Bouquet Small $15

    Pakaraka Farm Olive Oil $16/250ml

    These items are only available as an add-ons for the veggie box order.

    • Andre 4.1

      Fuck me, I would have guessed there was some Auckland hipster pricing going on, but that's levels up from my most cynical imagining.

    • WeTheBleeple 4.2

      And I just posted about liking to get paid. That is over the top. But if people will pay that much… the market decides – or laughs?

      Maybe the food is ridiculous good? I had a friend from UK her pal runs a bunch of high end restaurants – she was absolutely gushing over the taste of food from my garden.

      I'd feel like a robber charging like that. But there's loads of non-green businesses gouging profit too.

      • weka 4.2.1

        Hard to tell if that's gouging or the cost of growing food without fossil fuels and fucking the environment, or a bit of both. Funny how NZ is ok with massively inflated housing costs but not willing to grapple with the cost of growing food. Hmm maybe there's a connection between the two.

        Meanwhile in the conventional market, it's not like there aren't plenty of people paying those prices when they have to. Is this the cost of growing food, or price gouging by the farmers or ticket clippers, or what? Welcome to climate change btw 😉

        Shoppers are paying up to $7 for a head of lettuce as post-cyclone price hikes for fresh veges continue.

        Cauliflower were also pricey, selling for $7.99 at one New World and $6.49 at an Auckland Countdown – nearing the record high of $10 a head in April last year.

        A wet and wild growing season has affected several growing areas in the North Island, with leafy greens particularly affected by flooding in early April.

        The resulting shortages for certain vegetables meant customers had been dealing with inflated prices for autumn produce for weeks.

        • weka

          for reference, the $100,000 permaculture kale thing was from hardman Ad, who was saying that you have to have real jobs to afford housing now. Just pointing to the elephant in the living room there.

          • joe90

            January 2018.

            In an area not much larger than the average Kiwi section of old, they grew $85,000 worth of organic vegetables last year. This year, they expect to make it $100,000.


            • weka

              yes, I wrote a post about it. What's your point?

              • joe90

                These folk purport to be able to grow $100k's worth of produce on little more than 1000m2. The notion that their methods are somehow applicable to feeding the masses falls to pieces when it becomes clear that to do so, they're obliged to separate fools from their money.

                • weka

                  the post is about whether one can make a living from regenag.

                  There are plenty of ways to understand the cost of growing food and the shitstorm bearing down on conventional ag from climate change and a move to a post-carbon economy. Some of them are being discussed in this thread.

                  Superficial trad left arguments, reductionist ones that say we have to have cheap food and bugger the consequences don't fit easily into that conversation, because they don't take into account all the important issues.

                  If NZ had a hard crash and crop failures (which mainstream orgs now believe is inevitable) then it's people like the Kays that will be out there literally showing other people how to grow food for themselves and their neighbours when oh look, we're in lock down and can't go buy bags of compost or seedlings from the local Mitre10.

                  The irony here is this is exactly the same shit as with climate change. Had the mainstream, including the traditional left, taken climate change seriously in the 80s and 90s instead of being all about the mighty dollar, then we'd have transtioned to renewables by now and be in a completely different situation.

                  Likewise, if we take regenag seriously now, based on existing evidence of the problems and the solutions, we'll be much better set up when climate change really kicks in.

                  Obviously food affordability is a massive issue, but arguing as if we don't already have serious issues around that (see link to $7 lettuces, or the links between housing costs and not eating) is a madness. What's being pointed to here is that if we include ecology now, everything changes.

                  • weka

                    to be clear, critique of what the Kays are doing is welcome, I'd just like to see more nuance, and inclusion of all the issues, not the cherry picked, reactionary ones.

        • Patricia Bremner

          House versus veg lol… can't eat the house.

        • WeTheBleeple

          You make a good point re: pricing. Growing most of my own I rarely buy produce unless there's a good special of something I don't have. So am out of touch with how food prices have been trending for some time.

        • Cricklewood

          There lies our issue, everyone wants cheap fruit and vege, the only way to achieve that is huge scale and shit wages.

          Think about it next time you're at the supermarket and broccoli is $1 per head. Working backwards of that $1 there is the supermarkets margin, freight, growers margin packing, picking, growers inputs, planting, the seedling.

          A grower will only make a few cents per head once all that's covered so need to grow huge crops to meet the price point.

          The same goes for fruit etc etc what they are charging is realistic for what goes into producing vege on a small scale.

          Roll land cost in and it's barely feasible

          • weka

            Yep, plus parts of the industry are now reliant on importing cheap labour who are willing to work with shit work conditions.

            The intersection off all the things needs a systems thinking approach rather than a binary one.

    • Ad 4.3

      New Zealand would be far more prosperous if more people with sections had similar pricing.

      I know plenty of women who pay this price point, happily.

      I'm sure like minds are targeting Chinese and Japanese consumers with the same.

    • Ad 4.4

      Huckleberry, Chantelles, and Nosh have their targets clear.

      Plus all those 5 star hotels rising in Auckland, pricing up their sides.

      Full support for their price and quality. But hell they work for it.

  5. Molly 5

    Jean-Martin Fortier is a Canadian market gardener, who has created a similar setup on a small scale, but in recent years has increased how-to and educational aspect of his philosophy and success via a movie, book and online courses.

    It would be great to see transitional funds go towards assisting NZ farmers already doing regenerative farming, taking on that educational role in New Zealand, and reward them for the choices they have already made, while giving other less experienced but interested regenerative farmers the advantage of local experience and direct contact.

    The Market Gardener film (which was available on pay to view, but now can't find…) and book goes through everything from the considered design of the garden beds, and how this reduces waste and cost to the final selling of the products.

    While searching for the film, I found this on Youtube which goes over some of the models and tools utilised for small-scale farming.

    • Rosemary McDonald 5.1

      For a few years we did the permaculture thing on our wee acre in the Waikato loosly based on this… … by the aptly named Linda Woodrow.

      Chickens are the key to her method…and by gum…once those feathered foragers have finished with the heap of garden and kitchen waste built a foot deep in the tractor zone whatever is planted in there when the tractor is moved on grows likes Topsy.

      We never intended to sell our produce, just feed the whanau and friends, but we did for a while grow broccoli for the organic veg shop and inevitably had surplus of everything else (after bottling and freezing) to donate to various outfits offering residential support for those who needed it.

      But the eggs. Lots of them from the tractor and the paddock chooks, and these we did sell at the gate to happy customers. They (the customers) went slightly bonkers actually be able to see the egg layers happily doing chooky type stuff.

      Going to watch your youtube clip now.

      • Molly 5.1.1

        Thanks Rosemary. Very tempted to buy the book, even though on limited funds at present. Well, negative funds really… wink

        I've always been keen on the idea of a mobile chicken tractor built to go along the rows, clearing out the beds and fertilising a the same time. Seems like one of the most elegant solutions to both tasks. Glad to hear of someone who has used it successfully.

        • WeTheBleeple

          I used a chicken tractor to break ground here. Really helped as the ground is an infertile clay cap. After that the ground breakers were daikon, beets, parsley, various 'weeds' etc – to continue the building of organic matter on top, and to feed worms helping the roots burrowing beneath.

  6. Andre 6

    This is all very lovely for those privileged with a large chunk of land and gobs of time they can devote to lovingly raising their vegetables. Or don't really need to derive much income from hand-feeding apples to their herd of pet deer because of generous passive income from other sources. Or on massive incomes that can afford a massive premium for a generous helping of moral superiority and virtue signalling with their brussel sprouts.

    But for the rest of us that are just looking for some reasonably tasty and nutritious sustenance to keep us going to do other things with our lives, the idea of whacking our food prices up by multiples of what they are now is unpalatable.

    Historical trends for food pricing show dramatic drops, particularly for developed countries. This is almost entirely due to mechanisation and specialisation and economies of scale. Pretty much the exact opposite of what is being touted in the OP.

    To be sure, the trends of mechanisation and industrialisation of agriculture have brought massive downsides, but the blunt reality is if the choice becomes a binary between accepting those out-of-sight harms and a massive increase in food pricing, the near-universal answer will be the out-of-sight harms can be lived with.

    So the challenge is integrating the benefits of regenerative practices into lower-cost methods of agriculture.

    Household food spending in selected different countries with historical trends:

    • weka 6.1

      the post was primarily about whether one could make a living growing food in a regenag system, it wasn't about how to grow food affordably (or the politics in that). The Kays aren't the only people doing this, it's happening everywhere. It's *already happening. A different post about the costs of food, regenag, and conventional ag needs to be done for sure.

      I don't see it as a binary like that, but if the public do and they are presented with it as a binary and this drives them to reject climate solutions, then we're fucked. Because the pressures to end fossil fuels, and then the pressures of runaway climate change, will outweigh their need to eat. We already let very large numbers of humans die from starvation and mal nutrition, there's nothing special in this regard about NZ or other industrialised nations, we're just buffered from it currently.

      People can say, oh we will choose this ag not that one, but that is basically a denialist position. If people are instead saying, how can we have our society grow food that we can afford that not only doesn't wreck the planet but restores the damage we've done and supports our kids and grandkids to have good lives, then the conversation becomes quite different.

      As I mentioned to Bleeple, the intersection of land prices and food prices is going to bite. If we want to talk about affordability, we can start there and also look at how people are affording food when most of their income goes in rent.

      There's lots about what the Kays are doing that costs more because they're leading edge. If there were 100 such farms in the area then the costs would reduce. I mentioned the compliance costs in the post, that can change relatively easily with govt will. And so on. These are not insurmountable problems. Being left with shitty land to grow local food on because we built housing on the fertile land is.

      • Andre 6.1.1

        If there were 100 such farms in the area, they wouldn't be able to sell a couple of handfuls of common veges for $45. It's only a subset of the 1% that are willing to pay prices like that, on the basis of some kind of perceived exclusivity.

        To repeat myself: So the challenge is integrating the benefits of regenerative practices into lower-cost methods of agriculture.

    • WeTheBleeple 6.2

      Regen-ag greatly reduces farm costs. Fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides, machinery and maintenance can all drop. More savings can be realised. Household food, timber, fuel…

      An Auckland house can earn more than this couple. Merely by nesting in the right part of town. That's why everything else is inflated, to keep up with the holdings.

      So how does a potential wannabe house owner get a foot on that ever raising ladder – selling expensive veggies? The market pays and the market decides and all that good economic sense, innit.

      The 80c can of tomatoes at the supermarket takes a world tour before it gets here. It grows on land of dispossessed indigenous people. Land that is sprayed and ploughed and salted and sprayed, and sprayed and ploughed and salted and sprayed again. Till the carbon is gone to the atmosphere and the soil system gone to the dogs.

      Obviously, in the light of all we know, we currently eat from a system that is not tenable. Despite some folks insistence it is the only way.

      • gsays 6.2.1

        As well as the 80 cent tin of tomatoes, the conventional (supermarket) way of doing things is massively subsidised by us.

        The trucks, up and down the country, that we pay to repair the damage they do.

        Wages for staff that we supplement through top-ups, rental supplements etc.

        The damage the two chains do to the business diversity in smaller centres- pushing butchers and green grocers out of trade and primary producers unable to sell their wares through other outlets.

    • Ad 6.3

      Huckleberry, Chantelles, and Nosh have their targets clear.

      Plus all those 5 star hotels rising in Auckland, pricing up their sides.

      Full support for their price and quality. But hell they work for it.

      • Andre 6.3.1

        Here's me thinking I was extravagant shopping at Fruit World with their slightly higher prices because their quality is a bit better compared to the cheapie places in Glen Eden or Green Bay …

        That $100k appears to be their sales figure. I wonder what their external costs are and what they actually net. And what it comes down to in $/hr terms. All the vaguely similar operations I've known anything about have basically just been something to keep the owners amused and occupied until it's time to realise the capital gains on the land.

        • Ad

          Highest productivity per hectare with highest price per item is our current national recipe. Eyeroll.

          Zero r&d, crap $$ per hour, heinous hours, but great virtue- skiting.

          Sounds like what some people really live by. And good luck to them.

          I'll take that bunch of purple carrots for the dinner party thanks.

          • weka

            there's definitely R & D going on in regenag, but for the most part at the moment the govt is too stupid to be taking advantage of that, so it's being shared amongst growers and farmers and in blogs and such.

            Imagine how much would change for growers like the Kays if their sector had the full force of govt and industry support behind them. They're pioneers at the moment, figuring out how it can all be done. The next generation will have it easier.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    It's a good example of what's achievable in small spaces, if people work intensively – the NZ landuse habit is more extensive.

    Perhaps the capital aspects of the model are the key to proliferating it however – how to find bits of land that can be better used when the reigning regressive neo-liberal financial mysticism has put it beyond reach of most of the productive classes.

    There were some great intensive orchard practices in Korea – apples and nashi pears individually paper bagged to keep bugs off without spraying and thinned for best market size, returning a premium price to the growers, and often direct sold online in advance in Gangnam, where the prices were best. Great fruit, and sans the supermarkets' rakeoff, pretty good value too.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Here's our local model:

    Country calendar did a feature on it a couple of years back. They seem to have achieved success commercially, as market gardeners. I bought a package of their salad greens for $6 in early spring, figured on a week out of that but only got thro half of it – so it would've been excellent value for a family. Unfortunately they don't do other sizes for couples or singles…

    • Incognito 8.1

      Unfortunately they don’t do other sizes for couples or singles…

      The perennial size problem, which doesn’t affect just couples or singles. With fresh produce, it doesn’t make sense to cut it in portions and freeze those. However, two singles or couples could go 50/50. Not ideal or convenient, I know, but this could have added ‘social’ benefits too 🙂

  9. Robert Guyton 9

    What is meant by, "make a living"? Is that a monetary figure to be reached? Or is it more complex and hinting at a well-being index, rather than a GDP measure? The Kay's supplement their income from food sales with teaching, for which they are paid. There are many ways to add to your "wealth" beyond the sales table. The annual food bill is a large one; I bet the Kay's is tiny. Factor that in, along with fewer if any visits to the doctor thanks to their healthy physical lifestyle and the quality of the food they eat, along with the benefits of working at home, supported by the community and doing so in tune with the weather and the seasons and their overall "wealth measure" could be such that they are "millionaires" by a different standard. The model they provide; young couple with a vision and a willingness to commit, work hard, share ownership and a whole lot of other doable things, is an invaluable one, imo, for anyone wanting to loose the shackles of the "normal way" and strike out on an adventure here in New Zealand.

    • Ad 9.1

      Most need about $50k just to get by – without a mortgage. No matter how you measure GDP or whatever.

      With mortgage, well, use the ANZ calculator.

      Even more if you use the Retirement Commission calculator.

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    Hive mind buzz:

    Shaw was in Auckland Central on Friday with the party’s high-profile electorate candidate, Chlöe Swarbrick, to meet an urban farming and beekeeping group called For the Love of Bees.

    The group helps run an inner-city, 310sqm vegetable farm on Mt Eden’s Symonds St, which feeds 35 families who pay a subscription fee for the produce.

    Shaw was there to announce the party’s promise to create a $10 million contestable fund for urban farms, part of the $297m planned “Farming for the Future” fund to push the agricultural sector towards regenerative farming.“$10m actually goes quite a long way with things like this, and it is a sector which is only really getting going in New Zealand,” Shaw said.

  11. Robert Guyton 11

    Weka – what I reckon's happening is this: women (who give birth after conceiving and carrying for 9 months) have learned to manage fear; those women are brave; pregnancy holds potentials that are scary; an organism growing inside of your body and must, once it's reached size, come out; this is not a casual, nor a quickly-resolved matter. Bravery, patience, forbearance etc. are learned by women during this time (and at other too; menstruation teaches something similar, I guess.

    Men, otoh, have to create dangerous situations from which to learn those skills; crisis create learning at a fundamental level; so men leap, climb, hurtle etc. physically and psychologically, repeatedly, till they learn. Some societies guide their young men through organised fearful states; initiations etc.Some, like the Western societies, do not, so men have to work it out themselves and it's a messy process.

    Climate change, species extinctions etc. reflect the male approach to learning; push it to the limits in order to force learning. Women despair at this global playing-out of the male game of chicken. In a culture driven by men; a hierarchal, patriarchal civilisation, this might end very badly and the signs are not encouraging. A feminine culture will ease the rate and trajectory of our seemingly ill-fated flight.

    Agriculture is a masculine culture. Regenerative farming has a hint of the feminine to it, hence my interest and guarded support (it doesn't go anywhere near as far as I would).

    Have you thoughts about this? Apologies for all the wild generalisations; male, female etc.

    • weka 11.1

      I think similarly Robert. Which is why I believe that if we put the (Māori) aunties in charge of NZ we'd be pretty sweet. Not only do they have women's culture, but they also know how to value men and share power.

      As well as the strength and will that derives from childbirth and such, there is the million years of evolution hardwired into women's bodies from breastfeeding and the post-partum period that makes us tend towards tending and compassion.

      This isn't dissing men, I think men likewise have some capacities that arise out of biology and evolution, it's just that we are a long way from being able to do that well now.

      Needless to say, this gets me into trouble at times from some other feminists who think I just said that women should stay home and have babies (which is a nonsense, I didn't and they shouldn't). And yes, we are talking in generalities about sex classes, there are always uncompassionate women and men who are deeply compassionate. It's not a black and white reductionist thing. It's also very fraught because the patriarchy treats women particularly badly and we're on the cusp of losing some of the ground gained in recent decades, so I understand the women that in the fight over that.

      I prefer the term 'women's culture' over feminine, because feminine is such a hugely problematic word in politics and socially now. Also, while men can be feminine, I still think that there are specific qualities that arise from biology that need to sit alongside gender ideas.

      Getting men back into men's business and helping young men navigate their biology as they come of age seems a high priority.

      We should talk about the Grandmother Hypothesis too 🙂

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Here is where people who are thinking along these lines can further Celia Lashlie's work on this. She was in her 60's I think when she died and just getting her ideas going with promising first efforts for helping men and women find their strengths and learn to tame their spurts of anger, their repression of their own joyful selves and personal nobility.

        It isn't a feminine thing to learn to appreciate others, be kind to oneself and others, it is applied humanity. It is what is needed – to know yourself and then strong bonds for the future can be built.

        Tihoi school adventure for boys.

        ( Celia Lashlie – He'll be OK. The Good Man Project

        Celia Lashlie Trust – Site being worked on.

        Celia Lashlie film – What she was about, what doing, went far too early.

        Analogies to explain it are probably the best – that a man doesn't have to hard like a rock, he can be tough and firm like a well-grown tree able to be tossed by difficult winds and remain upright and steady. And unlike a tree, trim down his own unnecessary burdens to what can be managed, what attitudes are healthy and acceptably moral. Celia said to mothers, especially lone mothers, don't worry all the time, enable them to manage their own lives and own personalities, not jump in and decide what is good, what is safe, how to behave and defending them and denying their behaviour when it falls. (And that goes for young females too. A heart to heart now and then about preserving your own nobility. Girls don't hear much of that talk, it's all about appearance or achievement.)

  12. Sakari 12

    Where is the article?

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