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Michelle Teear photography urban hum beekeeping

Ernest Hardes Memorial


In honour of our longest serving and treasured president, Ernest Hardes, these two Scholarships offer Hunter Valley based tertiary students access to on the farm mentoring and short courses in sustainable growing.

[Coming soon for 2023....]

The Scholarships



 Upskill with $2000 worth of training including organic farming, permaculture and bee keeping courses.


On the Farm 


Hands on learning with two days experience with Little Hill Farm and a private tour of Limestone Permacuture.

Two Year Membership

Join our supportive community and keep learning with a free two year membership to the Hunter Organic Growers Society and Slow Food Hunter Valley!


The scholarships are brought to you by

Hunter Organic Growers Society


Slow Food Hunter Valley

with the generous support of

Purple Pear Farm

Little Hill Farm

Limestone Permaculture

Urban Hum


Each of the two scholarships on offer include:

$2000 contribution towards course fees



$1600 in courses with Purple Pear Farm (with the option of additional $400 from below for a Permaculture Design Certificate).

$400.00 in courses from your choice of  first class sustainable educators:

       Purple Pear Farm (by applying the additional $400.00 to this farm it will allow the scholar to choose to        do a Permaculture Design Certificate worth $2,000.00)

       Limestone Permaculture

       Urban Hum 


Practical "on the farm" mentoring experiences


Brett Cooper - Limestone Permaculture:

A private 2 hour tour of his one acre highly productive farm with one of the Hunter's most inspiring Permaculture ambassadors. This tour will be tailored to focus on your particular interests.

Simon Carroll - Little Hill Farm:

2 days on the farm experience in Mount Vincent. Join this award winning, innovative small family free range poultry operation and gain valuable first hand experience!

(Note: the two students will attend the above mentoring experiences together on the same date)

PLUS both Scholarships include 2 year memberships to...

Hunter Organic Growers Society

We are gardeners, farmers, and first time producers of our own backyard fodder, who meet monthly to learn about living and growing sustainably in the Hunter Valley and surrounds. All members receive free entry to field days, one free workshop per year, our monthly newsletter and that good feeling that you're a part of positive change.

Slow Food Hunter Valley

Slow Food Hunter Valley is a group of volunteers who offer their time to support and run projects that raise awareness of the importance of eating seasonal and local produce, encourage food diversity, help distribute (and redistribute) food on a more equitable basis, keep our food clean and reduce food waste. Most of all, Slow Food Hunter Valley seeks to protect taste, flavour and biodiversity through local projects, campaigns, community engagement and educational programs.

Sustainable Educators

Purple Pear Farm

An outstanding biodynamic farm west of Maitland run by a passionate team, Mark Brown and Kate Beveridge. They offer learning opportunities based on 20+ years of experience in teaching, farming, sustainability, permaculture, biodynamics and community building. At Purple Pear Farm, life revolves around food – growing, selling, preparing, preserving and eating it.

Little Hill Farm

First generation farmers who have a passion for clean ethical produce. Their products feature in the best restaurants and home kitchens in the Hunter and are developing a reputation for outstanding quality and flavour. Their pasture raised chicken has been awarded state winner in the 2017 Delicious Awards.

Limestone Permaculture

Limestone Permaculture Farm is a highly productive one acre demonstration property, designed with & operated on Permaculture Principles and located in the beautiful Karuah Valley, NSW. Limestone Farm showcases practical and transitioning examples of Permaculture Principles integrated into our Food Growing, Farm Management and Life Systems

Urban Hum

Urban Hum is a small artisan beekeeping enterprise located in Newcastle, NSW. As passionate beekeepers they are committed to the health and wellbeing of their honeybees. The bees come first. This is reflected in their management practices and ethical honey production. Working alongside their bees, they produce delicious urban honey in the heart of the city. Each jar is unique to the suburb it’s made in, with small batch production and single hive origin. So you get to taste honey from one hive at a time, one suburb at a time. They run regular very popular bee keeping workshops.

Applications are currently closed


Essential Criteria

• Aged 18 to 30 years

• Currently undertaking studies at a registered training organisation in the area of Horticulture, Agriculture or a related field.

• Currently residing in the Hunter Region (local government areas of Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Cessnock, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter, Dungog.)

• Interested in learning more about organic growing

Preferential Criteria

• Currently facing barriers that may impact on your ability to finance further learning (this adversity will be kept confidential).


Ernest ‘Ern’ Hardes was a long term founding member of Hunter Organic Growers Society. Sadly he passed away in 2017.

Ern was so knowledgeable and always willing to help solve a gardening problem or to share some growing advice. His passion to ‘grow new gardeners’ is being recognised with the introduction of this scholarship in his name (and on the 40th birthday of Hunter Organic Growers Society).

Applications are currently closed

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