Maniototo, Central Otago
Firgrove farm comprises 8.5ha in the Ida Valley. This stunning region has the harshest climate in Aotearoa New Zealand. Temperatures range from +30C in summer to -20C in winter, rainfall approximately 400mm and frosts can occur at any time throughout the year. The transition phase is just beginning on Firgrove. Shelter is being planted and the paddocks prepared for sheep and cattle. The chicken flock is expanding and bee hives are being sought. Beds are being prepared for heritage vegetables and herbs to support animal health. The first planting will begin in spring 2017.
Firgrove is Agroecology in action with an emphasis on Natural Animal Health.
The farms demonstrate varying stages in the restoration and regeneration journey, examples of reconnecting growers to the land. A Place to Be has regenerated soils and Firgrove is just starting out.
Seven years ago, the land at Firgrove stank and there was no life visible amongst the compacted soils and broom. After fallow, the broom was mulched and there is life everywhere, a range of grass species and some forbs. A season out from the worst drought in living memory, the time has come to regenerate and restore the land.
On our properties monitoring programmes are in place with outside agencies. At Firgrove a restoration and monitoring programme is in place with Agrisea.
Marion at Firgrove spent her early years shepherding. She has a Veterinary Parasitology PhD and is a senior researcher with Nga pae o te Māramatanga and the Future Farming Centre. Her research encompasses Agroecology, Ethnoveterinary practices, Western herbal veterinary medicine, healthy pastures and New Zealand native plants.