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Thames family's market garden capable of feeding hundreds of people

A family in Thames with a love for growing their own vegetables has resulted in a garden feeding hundreds of people.

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The Israeli immigrants are now holding classes for others to start their own garden. Source: Seven Sharp

The Kay family moved from Israel to New Zealand in late 2012, when they began working on their quarter acre slice of paradise.

Pakaraka Farm is an oasis of food that not too long ago was covered in soil that struggled to contain life.

“Before we came here, this was just compacted land,” Yotam Kay explained to Seven Sharp.

Now, it’s an organic powerhouse - a small-scale market garden capable of growing over 10,000 kgs of produce over eight months of intense growing.

It’s enough to feed around 200 to 250 families, he said.

“There's been so much learning in the last decade about small-scale, highly intensive vegetable gardening.”

“If we do it, lots of people can do it,” Niva Kay added. “This is not rocket science. It’s really, really easy. There are some basic principles you need to understand.

“Our passion is to share.”

Now, the pair are doing just that by holding workshops to educate others about the systems behind their success.

“The more people growing food and taking care of soil, the better,” Niva said.

Yotam added that more people should be growing vegetables in the backyard “because that’s the future of food”.

The couple have since combined their 30 years of experience to create a backyard bible, The Abundant Garden, to teach the masses - and maybe even go out of business.

“I would be the happiest person if everybody grows food in their own backyards and don’t need to buy produce from us,” Yotam said.

“I can see a future where 50 to 80 per cent of all fresh vegetables are grown in people’s backyards because vegetable gardening at home has so many advantages.”