Joe Polaischer – Tribute

RVF-joekids Joe Polaischer, well known, highly respected and dearly loved permaculture teacher, farmer and pioneer past away, February 14, 2008, in New Zealand.

Joe leaves the global permaculture community an incredible legacy of commitment and dedication to healing the earth. Over the past 18-plus years Joe has empowered and inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of people through his teaching in New Zealand, Europe and Japan, and through the living example of sustainability in action he created with his partner, Trish Allen, at Rainbow Valley Farm in New Zealand.


Joe Polaischer was born in Austria and grew up on a peasant farm in the Austrian Alps. He spent many years in Africa and South America in his twenties. Passionate about sustainability, self-sufficiency, appropriate technology and bioregional community development, in 1988 he and Trish purchased the property known now as Rainbow Valley Farm on the North Island of New Zealand

. The farm has been featured in magazines around the world, and from my personal experience and travels it is a global permaculture treasure. Joe’s exceptional knowledge and skills, wonderful sense of humour, commitment to excellence, and knack for making the most mundane elements of life a work of art and beauty are ledgendary. 



Late last year Joe was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour which was removed but returned with a vengance and within a few short weeks has claimed his life. Joe’s commitment to his work never faded even in his final days. The Permaculture Design Course he and Trish had scheduled to teach at Rainbow Valley Farm Feb 22nd is going ahead as the express wish of Joe, so he could leave knowing his work and permaculture training in New Zealand would continue.

 I had the exceptional honour of spending a few days with Joe and Trish at Rainbow Valley Farm in May last year en route to IPC8 in Brazil. Joe and Trish discussed with me the issue of succession – the importance of training others to replace us and putting strategies in place for the work to continue. I will be returning to New Zealand next week to honour Joe’s wish, supported wholeheartedly by Trish, and assist with the PDC and provide encouragement and support to the new generation of permaculture teachers who will be attending. Geoff Lawton will also be joining the course to teach the second week on his return from Cuba.

Our thoughts are with Trish and the permaculture community in New Zealand at this time. We will do what we can to ensure Joe’s wish is fulfilled and that his work and commitment to a sustainable future is honoured.

Thank you Joe for your inspiration and dedication and for the wonderful legacy you have gifted us – this will live on in our hearts and in our work. May you rest now in peace in the arms of mother earth.

– Robyn Francis   Feb 14, 2008


You might like to visit the following links to recap and remember Joe’s living legacy:

David Holmgren – Obituary 

Rainbow Valley Farm  

Joe Polaischer – Climate Change Workshop – filmed in Warkworth, NZ 2007 

Village Blogg: Joe Polaischer interview 2006/01/28/joe-polaischer-interview.html 

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