Late last year I was sponsored by the Norfolk Island Government to travel to the island for a 2 day seminar. The opportunity arose following enthusiastic promotion by Simon Bigg, who is the Course Superintendent for the Norfolk Island Golf Club. Simon had returned home from our 4 day Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture, determined that this was essential information that should be shared with the islanders. He teamed up with Robin Adams, a local identity with a passion for all things sustainable, to make his vision a reality. Robin, who works for the Government, helped Simon frame and submit a proposal for funding that was eventually accepted. The seminar, covering a multitude of topics related to soil, plant and human health, was free to the islanders and was very well attended (attracting some 8% of the adult population). Two Government ministers attended the course and were able to witness the response of attendees.
The Norfolk Island growers rapidly grasped the potential of a nutrient-dense, chemical-free growing future, particularly since all fresh produce available on the island is grown there. In this context, the health of your friends and family is partly in your hands, so if you can do it better you have all the motivation you need. It became obvious during the seminar that no one tested their soils on the island, so there was an element of “driving blind” when it came to crop nutrition. The very real risk here was that if a pattern of deficiencies existed in the soil, then that same pattern would exist in the islanders and could conceivably have a negative impact upon their health. On the strength of this realisation, the local Government again came to the rescue and subsidised soil tests across the island (where on earth did they find a Government like this?). On the basis of this data we were able to put together a biological blend that addressed the key deficiencies on the island. We called this problem-solver “Norfolk Gold”. The successful partnership of Robin and Simon has now extended to a range of sustainability issues on the island and they have recently been successful in securing funding for two more NTS Seminar Series this year including our 4 day Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture course and a 2 day Human Health event.
Education in Paradise
The Certificate In Sustainable Agriculture course on Norfolk Island scheduled for August will be promoted as a tourist attraction. If you have never attended this course and would like to do so on a truly remarkable island paradise, then this is a rare opportunity.
I could not have been more impressed with this place during my first visit. In fact, it is now amongst my top three locations on the planet and I am keen to buy some land there. Imagine air that is so fresh it almost feels like your lungs are drinking and water so clear that you can see the dolphins and turtles many meters below. Consider a sub-tropical climate where the temperature never drops below 10 degrees celsius and never rises above 28 degrees. Lush farmland, fuelled by volcanic soils with over 10% organic matter, stretches to the waters edge and that perimeter features azure blue ocean, golden sands and spectacular rock outcrops and caves. The vegetation is like a fusion between the best of New Zealand and sub-tropical Australia with jacarandas, poincianas and frangipanis interspersed with pohutakawas and punga ferns. Majestic Norfolk Pines are an unforgettable feature throughout, with some of them exceeding 400 years of age.
Many of the islanders speak a fascinating hybrid language amongst themselves. This unique combination of Old English and Tahitian dates back to the days of Fletcher Christian and his men who founded the settlement. Rampant tourism has yet to discover the multiple charms of this little slice of paradise, in fact, it has developed a bit of a reputation as a haven for retirees. For some reason the backpackers aren’t there in huge numbers and the historic convict buildings, the bush clad, extinct volcanos and the world class surf beaches are as unpeopled as you will ever find anywhere on this over-crowded planet. A friend of mine who now lives and works on the island says that he is often out surfing the perfect waves and actually wishing that others were there to share the moment (a far cry from fighting for your square metre of water when surfing off Noosa Point).
Norfolk Island, with the support of a remarkably visionary Government, will soon be in a position to market themselves as a biological showpiece where unforgettable food with forgotten flavours will complement a place of profound beauty and people with spirit, passion and foresight.
If you are interested in taking part in this rare opportunity on Norfolk Island please contact Robin Adams on +672 3 23587 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .