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Organic and Sustainable Production of Fruit, Vegetable, Nuts and Beef in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Canto Alegre farmlet is located 5 km south of Hastings, Hawkes Bay , New Zealand. We practice environmentally enriching agriculture where great effort is put into creating a natural environment by maintaining and improving healthy living soils, growing mixed pasture species for grazing cattle, planting large numbers of trees, both natives and exotics, in addition to herbs, shrubs, flaxes and lots more. We are proud to see that over 7 years, we went from an absolutely bare block of land to an oasis that gets richer by the day...

Canto Alegre produces chemical-free vegetables, fruit, nuts, beef, honey, seedlings and fruit trees. We strive to create a healthy environment for humans, wildlife, soil organisms, our farmed animals, insects and bees. We want to leave a healthy legacy for future generations.

History

The land is flat, on the famous Hereataunga Plains, and consists of rich topsoil with pumice under it. It is owned by  Anne Redgrave and Joao Dib. We have both  had a long-term involvement with organic farming. We are members of the New Zealabnd Tree Crops Association and continually strive to create a healthy natural environment at the farmlet. In 2010  we purchased the block as bare land. It was a barren rectangle with no hedges and no trees as you can see in the photos. The land had been  leased and until 2011 was used to grow conventional horticultural crops like carrots and onions. Heavy machinery and conventional inputs were the norm.

In 2011 we took back the land and a great challenge lay ahead: to grow trees, revitalize the soil, and bring back wildlife. The first step was to plant a solid willow hedge around the boundary. 1500 willow poles were planted and today form a beautiful hedge where birds, bees and all manners of insects live. New pastures, consisting of a mixed herbal/grass ley were sown. Cattle were brought in, fencing established and the soil began to recover from the heavy conventional use it had been under for a few years..

Significant changes have taken place over the last 5-6 years. The hedge is well established.  Walnuts, feijoas, heritage apples, hazelnuts, willows, escallonia and many  native trees have been planted. Literally hundreds of  plants/trees have been established..Over the next few years many other tree and shrub species will be planted. Now, the insect population is thriving and so are the birds, which have returned in great numbers. . The flaxes have grown well and have flowered heavily. with tui starting to pay brief visitsers. The pastures are a healthy mix of grass, herbs and many other plants  which the cattle, microorganisms and insects enjoy.

Please check our Enriching the Environment Page to see photos of plants, fuit trees and animals...

Our latest overhead video, filmed January 2019 can be view at