The Koanga Institute is a nationally recognised seed saving and education organisation dedicated to:
- The protection, conservation and development of New Zealand's genetic and cultural heritage food plants.
- Understanding the connections between soil, plant, animal and human health.
- Research into the practical techniques required for communities and individuals to be self reliant, with a focus on regenerative land use and nutrient dense food production.
- The development of educational programs that focus on the practical skills in the field of sustainable living.
The vision of the Institute is born out of 30 years of collecting heritage fruit trees, vegetables and flowers by Kay Baxter and others, in association with the Koanga Institute. This nationally important collection 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 civilisation has developed (we have co-evolved with our food plants and animals).
Much of the Koanga Institute's work has been in response to the fact that in the past 100 years much of the genetic diversity in food plants, all over the world, has disappeared as a result of the industrialisation of our food production.
In the process of 'saving the seeds', all those involved have come to the wider realisation that not just the ecology of our 'food evolution' has been compromised by industrialisation, but many other aspects of our 'human ecology' have likewise been compromised, and we can't address the one issue (eg seed saving) in isolation. Seed Saving is one aspect of the broader need to address our 'human ecology'. Thus, while an immediate priority for the Institute is seed protection and conservation, it is also committed to contributing practical holistic solutions in the wider field of sustainable living, and the development of our Education programs to facilitate the passing on of what we learn.
Staff and Apprentices 2011
From left: Will, Bridget, Franzi, Kay, Emma, Setha, Api, Cathrine, Teo, Bob, Dennis, Nicki.