Thorny Croft – Small Farm

Thorny Croft is an 8 hectare ‘small farm’, being established by Bob Corker and Kay Baxter in New Zealand, together with Taiamai and Franzi Corker. It is ‘Thorny Croft ’ because of the hawthorns which we love, and it is a ‘croft’ in the traditional sense of the word, in that it is it is a diverse and integrated small holding run by a family on leased land.

Bob grew up on his family farm, which he later brought. He ran it organically with Kay for 30 years as a sheep and beef farm. Taiamai also grew up on that farm. Bob’s passion is with the land, and in finding new models that take care of the land. Taiamai’s passion is with the heritage animals and in meat processing. Kay’s passion is in the connections between healthy soil, healthy plants and animals and healthy people, and Franzi’s passion is how all of this expresses as ‘art’.

We are all bringing what we have learned over many years on the land to this project, and we see it as becoming a model for regenerative agriculture. It is a very exciting project bringing together our skills as permaculture designers, our experience with heritage breeds of animals and our animals that have travelled with us to this land: Dexter cattle (an ancient Celtic dual purpose milk beef breed), Wiltshire Horn sheep (a traditional, hardy, horned breed, that shed their wool and are bred for meat production), East Freisian sheep (German milking sheep), Berkshire pigs, Kiko goats (NZ breed of meat goats), Chinese Weeder geese, Muscovy ducks, Indian Runner duck as well as several heritage chicken breeds.

We are adding to that mix of diversity and integration Management Intensive Grazing practices, and we are aiming to use our understanding and practice of biological agriculture together with animal management to regenerate the soil. We will also be bringing our experience with perennial tree crops and herbs to add to the mix.

We are committed to providing all of our animal food from the farm, with no industrial inputs (eg. grain) in the short/medium term. We are developing our breeding skills to ensure we are breeding animals that can perform in regenerative biological systems.

Thorny Croft is taking on two interns this spring (2012) to put this project on the ground, as part of the Koanga Institute internship program. If this sounds like you, get in!

Find out more by emailing: info (at)

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