The Mission at Open Skies is to create a bio-intensive regenerative market garden and to help play our part in establishing a self-supporting community of small-scale farmers.
Farming - Connection with the land
To teach our children how to grow food is something we believe is important for the generations to come. Many of us have forgotten our connection to the land, instead relying on big supermarket chains for most of the foods we consume. I believe whole-heartedly that we need to return to the land, teach our young how to plant trees, grow vegetables and husband the soil. To become more community-orientated and have more markets in every town. To know where our food comes from and who farmed the vegetables and how they farmed them. Transparency about how our food is grown and knowledge of what we’re putting into our bodies is what the community wants and needs.
The first thing I taught my two sons when they started to move was to get out in nature, out in the garden, and smell and feel the earth, feel the water, feel the wind, taste the different herbs and vegetables growing and teach them how plants grew. To plant the seeds early.
'Local farming initiatives has the power to return society to it's roots by connecting with the land and being self-sufficient.'
My story begins with my grandparents. On weekends my brothers and I would stay at Nana and Poppas farm out in Waimauku where they had livestock, an orchard and garden beds. Here we learned to ride farm bikes, make bow and arrows from bamboo and how to pinch fruit when the adults weren't around. On my mothers side, Oma and Opa had been market gardeners and florists when they arrived in New Zealand back in the 1950’s. Their first market garden was on Border Road West Auckland where they supported food for the community. They then moved to Kumeu, West Auckland where they owned a 8-hectare piece of land dedicated to growing food and flowers. They farmed into their 80’s before we took over the farm. It was a place where locals bought vege, fruit and flowers.
The Riverhead farm lovingly called ‘Eros Gardens’ was our sanctuary. We grew Dafodills, Earlicheers, Ornithogalum, Dahlias, Cala Lilies, Geraniums, Gladiolus, Magnolias, Hydrangeas, Rhododendron, Roses and Bougainvillea which we took to Takapuna markets and Turners and Growers in Mt Wellington on the weekends. A few hectares of mature orchard provided fruit - huge Apple, Plum, Peach and Orange trees. Past the Abelia Grandiflora and Cuppressocyoaris Leightons Green tree hedging and next to kiwifruit, grapes and passionfruit vines were long garden beds of herbs and pumpkin, butternut, potatoes, kumara, beetroot and every other vegetable imaginable. This oasis became our playground and the inspiration behind becoming farmers.
Farming is freedom and an expression of rebellion. Giving the finger to a centralised system which doesn't put Mother Nature and community first.'
Open Skies Farm is currently in the process of expansion to another bigger farm which will in time provide for the larger community. Open Skies promotes bio-intensive organic farming systems which are friendly towards Mother Nature. Our no-till methodologies towards farming are energy efficient and focused on conservation of the environment. One of our mantras at Open Skies is to promote awareness with sustainable farming. On the farm, all our bed preparation, planting, cultivating and harvesting is achieved with hand tools. No use of heavy machinery is used on the farm except a ride-on lawn mower to cut the grass on the boundary. We are passionate in promoting a clean diet for the community with soil, plant and the consumer considered. We don’t use any commercial herbicides, pesticides or fungicides on the farm and our water supply comes directly from the sky.
We believe the future of the community is in self-sufficiency. Growing our own food and harnessing our own power. Open Skies will in time offer a wide range of fresh seasonal vegetable, salads, fruits and flowers. The farm is powered by a solar system which was set in place to fulfil a mission to become self-sufficienct.
We feel lucky to bring up our children in an environment where healthy soil, clean water, air and organic food is at hand. To bring therm up surrounded by animals and together enjoy the rich diversity which comes with the changing of seasons. To teach our children that hard honest work can bear an abundance of food. To teach them we are part of a community and part of a movement to regain connection to the land and regain our sovereignty of self-sufficiency. To become as self-reliant as possible.
The vegetables we grow are grown from seed and the tools we use are all low-cost hands-on tools which come from small companies in New Zealand and Australia.'
'At Open Skies we use methodologies which factor in soil health, building up organic matter resulting in healthier plants and more nutrient-dense vegetables.'