Get Back to Grass Roots With NorthTec

12 March 2015

Get Back to Grass Roots With NorthTec

Budding gardeners with more enthusiasm than knowledge are encouraged to enrol in a new, fees-free programme delivered in Parakai by NorthTec.

The programme in Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) will take place at Te Whare Oranga ō Parakai, starting on 2 April. It is one of the first projects offered at the new facility, which is due for completion by the end of March.

Students will learn how to build a raised garden and a poly-house, how to grow seedlings and how to work with different types of soil. The programme will involve developing a two-acre paddock opposite Te Whare Oranga as part of the broader Thrive Kaipara project, which aims to encourage healthy eating across the community.

NorthTec tutor, Heidelind Luschberger, said there would an emphasis on organic growing. “The goal of the overall project is to grow healthy food for the community. Students on the SRD programme will plant vegetables and grow them from seed until they are ready to be picked and eaten. There is even a commercial kitchen on site so we will be able to cook and eat the produce as well.

“Looking into the future we will create a fruit orchard in the second semester starting in September. We will design the orchard, explore conditions such as soil and aspect, and plant and maintain the trees.”

Heidelind is an experienced tutor and grower with a passion for organic gardening and healthy living. She completed a diploma in SRD at NorthTec and has taught community-based programmes for the last 10 years.

The Parakai programme involves two days a week of study over 17 weeks, taking place every Thursday and Friday from 2 April until 24 July. Study days run from 9am to 3pm. In the first week the programme will only run on the Thursday as an introductory session, due to the Easter weekend.

Heidelind said the level 2 programme is aimed primarily at people who are not experienced gardeners but would like to learn how to make a small garden with a focus on vegetable growing.

For further information or to enrol, contact Heidelind Luschberger on 021 0230 6465 or via You can also call NorthTec on 0800 162 100 or visit

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