While others turned to baking sourdough during the 2020 lockdowns, Lydia Harvey found her green thumbs and got busy in her small garden.
Originally from Auckland, she’d moved to Christchurch with her two young boys in 2018, working in the photography industry.
But developing a passion for gardening for the first time has taken her in an unexpected direction and yearning to learn more.
She had taken part in workshops, both online and in person, and was working at Streamside Organics in Leeston where she met graduates of the New Zealand Certificate in Organic Primary Production course at the Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) at Lincoln.
The course involves a mix of face-to-face tutorials and guided practical work, as well as some self-directed online learning.
“They all loved it and suggested I enrol. So, I studied at the BHU in 2022, completing both Levels 3 and 4,” she said. "I learnt so much! And so much more than I anticipated.”
Being introduced to topics such as ecology, regenerative agriculture and propagation inspired her and fed her thirst for knowledge.
"The course was hugely beneficial. I know that everyone else on my course would say the same. It has sparked an interest in all of us and I am convinced that organics will be forever in some part of our lives because of this,” Lydia said.
“The lecturers are wonderful, varied, and bring inspiring insights from working in the organic industry. The numerous class trips were likewise super valuable, offering further inspiration to take away on your own organic journey.”
She believes the course offers tremendous value because “organics and regenerative agriculture is the way forward”.
“We need to move away from the industrial systems, systems of monoculture and repeated tillage. These are depleting our soils, our biodiversity, our plant and human health. and ultimately the health of our environment.”
Since graduating, she’s joined the Organic College Market Garden (OCMG), which was created by Jamie Tucker, also a former graduate of the BHU, and has also worked for Streamside Organics at the South Christchurch Market every Sunday for the past two years.
“I am constantly in awe of the quality and variety of their produce. Come visit!”