Whakapara Northland

This subtropical food forest was designed and planted in 2022 for eventual use as an educational platform in self-reliance for Northland youth. Over 100 grafted fruit trees (for fast reliable fruiting) have been planted with companion species for nitrogen feeding, biomass gain and rapid shade. The site featured established kikuyu grass which has been removed via shade using a breathable geotech matting (5 months for adequate die-off). The next phase is sowing an understory of red clover, buckwheat, phacelia, etc. Design layout allows for a future outdoor kitchen and central gathering / meeting space. Tree species planted include banana, cherimoya, casimiroa, macadamia, avocado + chestnut (on mounds), citrus, tamarillo, lucuma, fig, pomegranite, Japanese raisin tree and inga bean. The team at Carl Pickens Landscapes carried out planting works over a one-month period in October / November 2022. A thoroughly enjoyable project for visionary clients which is still ongoing.

I am Marcus Powell and I have worked in the youth sector for 11 years and the music industry for 22 years. I am happy to write this recommendation for Carl and his team.
It was my observation in the youth sector that we need a substantial amount of change. I believe this comes in the form of self-sustainability through our connection to whenua (Land and all that inhabit it). We needed like-minded individuals to follow a vision which led to developing Ridgelife Ltd which is where we would create an outdoor learning platform for our rangatahi (youth) but also for us and various communities. We felt blessed to have come across Carl and his team. We designed a food forest that was specifically built to educate people in multiple platforms including the homeschooling and youth platform, WithIN NATURE.  We worked with Carl for 6 months prior to implementation and we were thoroughly impressed by his commitment to his role. He is dependable and has a genuine compassion for other people who are in need. 
We experienced his leadership and his expertise when we created this project together and now we are watching our whenua regenerate and grow. Gratitude!

Marcus Powell, Chief Executive Officer, Crescendo Trust and founder – WithIN Nature

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