Hohepa chief executive Santiago De Marco, centre, surveys the herd. Photo: Supplied.

Sometimes you wonder if Hawke’s Bay takes Hohepa for granted.

We know the various strands of its sustainable farming, we appreciate the care and support it provides to intellectually disabled children and adults, and we enjoy its delicious award-winning cheeses.

But if you want evidence that it’s more than just a local landmark and institution, look no further than what happened at Hohepa this week.

Biodynamic farming turns 100 this year, with Hohepa proudly being the longest-certified biodynamic farm in New Zealand. Biodynamics is a method of organic agriculture that uses limited external inputs and re-uses on-farm waste, meaning low impact on the environment, exceptional quality of produce and animal welfare. Based on the teachings of Dr Rudolf Steiner, the farm, vineyard, orchard or garden is viewed as a living whole, with each activity being interconnected.

Hohepa, which has been operating since 1957, celebrated last week in style.

One of the day’s keynote speakers illustrated how Hohepa’s work and reputation extends far beyond New Zealand. 

Ueli Hurter, who is co-head of the Agriculture Section at the Goetheanum in Switzerland, flew in to honour Hohepa’s commitment to biodynamic farming. The Goetheanum is the home of the Steiner movement, while Hurter is also on the supervisory board of Biodynamic Federation Demeter International. Hohepa’s farming methods and products are Demeter-certified.

“It’s remarkable,’’ Hohepa chief executive Santiago De Marco said of Hurter’s eagerness to attend. “We arepart of an international movement called inclusive social development and these diversity farming practices are part of it.

Secretary for the Environment, James Palmer, was the other keynote speaker. Palmer is a former chief executive of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.


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  1. ❤️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Deep gratitude for Hohepa,Rudolf Steiner & the Amazing people who work & promote these inclusive, sustainable and conscious ways of living. I honour you.

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