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volunteer and get to experience a biodynamic farm - firsthand

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-01-24 10:27

Taking a gap year? And want to learn all there is to know about working on a biodynamic cheese farm?

We are a small mixed (mainly cheese-making and dairy goods) biodynamic farm in the Western Cape, South Africa. We are looking for one or two volunteers or apprentices to come and work on our farm for six months or more.

The 800ha farm is situated in a remote beautiful valley in majestic mountains. Most of the farm is indigenous bush and streams. We farm +/- 15ha. We have 45 goats in milk, 25 young female kids, 1 billy goat, 4 Jersey milk cows, a small beef heard with an Nguni bull, a sow with 7 young pigs and a new litter of 9. We also have 4 horses, 2 beehives, a 0.1ha vegetable garden, +/- 8ha gravity irrigated pastures, +/- 7ha wild grasses pasture and a dam.

elgin open gardens - a gardener's bliss

Submitted by MichaelE on Mon, 2010-11-01 11:34

the auldearn garden in the elgin valleythe auldearn garden in the elgin valleyThis last weekend was the first weekend of the annual Elgin Open Gardens. The weather was stunning - perfect for a day out in the beautiful Elgin valley, which is known for its apples and beautiful gardens. The gardens are also open next weekend, the 6th and 7th of November. You pay a small fee ranging from R5 to R20 a person, which is donated to a different charity. This year there are over twenty open gardens that you can visit. It's best that you plan on leaving early and spend the day in the valley, so that you have time to explore some of the gardens. There are some absolutely stunning gardens that are sure to inspire you.

We stopped off and had a leisurely brunch at the Houwhoek Farm Stall, which serves delicious food and has great stall, at which we bought some wonderful dried apricots for the road.

wild olive farm offers 12-day permaculture course

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2010-09-07 10:52

Our friend Hazel (we blogged about her here ) lives on a farm. It isn't just any farm either, it's a beautiful organic farm offering accommodation perched on the hill overlooking the Gou Kou River in Stilbaai.

Hazel's farm is a hugely popular lunch and breakfast venue, not least because she grows most of the vegetables and salads that she uses in her meals on her farm according to the principles of permaculture.

She is, as you will soon find out, intensely enthusiastic about permaculture and it is no surprise that she is now offering a 12 day Permaculture Design Course - starting on 18 October 2010.

viva la treevolucion

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2010-08-26 14:27

treevolution a la greenpop.orgtreevolution a la greenpop.orgThe revolution has a name and it is Greenpop! Greenpop is a volunteer-powered tree planting project - a "creative greening campaign with a treemendous amount going on". Their first aim is to plant 1000 trees at various under-greened areas across Cape Town during spring 2010.

They seem to be up to really good things, including some reverse-grafitti street art and eco-educational upliftment. And thanks to involvement of Misha Teasdale, documentary filmmaker, there are some cool clips to check out on YouTube (be sure to watch them all).

This Sunday (29 Aug) the first trees will be heading groundwards at the Sosebenza Centre for Peace in Masiphumelele. And in conjunction with this, Urban Harvest will be planting a veggie garden too. They're keen to have as many volunteers join them as possible so check out their website for details.

Jeremy Hewitt and other accomplished musos

grow to live review

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2010-08-26 10:47

Grow to Live: By Pat FeatherstoneGrow to Live: By Pat FeatherstoneGrow to Live: A simple guide to growing your own good, clean food is a book that every South African food gardener, whether novice or not, needs to have on their bookshelf. I've become quite a collector of gardening books and there are some really informative books out there. Some were written in the 80's and 90's, or earlier, when it was fashionable to nuke your vegetables with every herbicide, pesticide, fungicide and other -icide known. You were advised to routinely spray with the likes of Malathion, Karbaspray, Metasystox and other chemical weapons of mass destruction. And you had to know all about applying the right proportion of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) ala 2:3:2, 2:3:4, 3:2:1 or whatever. Well, following this advice would lead to a 5:4:3:2:1 explosion and the death of life in your garden.

So now you know what the book is not about, enter Grow to Live. This is a book that will make your heart soar as an organic gardener. The book distills the considerable knowledge

planting the seed for a permanent solution through permaculture

Submitted by MichaelE on Tue, 2010-06-08 10:36

learning the permaculture way with SEEDlearning the permaculture way with SEEDSeed embodies what permaculture is all about. The Seed permaculture courses teach you how to design and grow your garden in a way that mimics the diverse biological systems in nature. The garden works as a whole system, providing ecological sustainability, whilst at the same time meeting human needs. Looking at a permaculture garden you may be forgiven for thinking that this is organised chaos! Yet as in nature, there is method in madness.

Plants are planted in a manner that conserves space and allows them to benefit each other. Seeds Saturday courses teach you the principles behind permaculture and how to go about adding permaculture to your own garden. The courses take place at

slow food mother city

Submitted by Dax on Wed, 2010-03-17 11:44

Slow Food Mother CitySlow Food Mother CityMy experience is that there is a growing disconnect between people and the food they consume (I use the word consume because I think eating has connotations which often don't apply). I have many friends who cannot cook, many more who struggle to determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy options and most people I know don't have a clue where their food comes from, how it got to them or how it was processed (I could use the word made instead of processed, but again it suggests human intervention which is seldom the case).

This trend is concerning to me, and I am not alone. Slow Food is represented in over 130 countries and has more than 100 000 members. The movement started about 20 years ago in Italy.

‘do nothing farming’ – fukuoka’s wise words

Submitted by Guest on Wed, 2009-08-12 09:22

Blog kindly written by Carey Finn.

These days, organic farming is more popular than ever. With organic box schemes, growing organic sections in supermarkets, and an increasing awareness on the part of consumers, it looks like organic is here to stay, and will only grow further. Certainly, organic farming, especially when it incorporates principles of permaculture and biodynamism, is a massive improvement on modern agriculture with its poisons and exploitations.

But it should not be seen as the plateau – as Masanobu Fukuoka, a wise farmer from Japan said, we have many more steps to take to return to the source; in other words, we have a way to go before we are truly growing our food in harmony with nature...

winter CSA - changing your approach to food

Submitted by Ahmed on Tue, 2009-06-30 12:11

We live in a world of pre-packaged, microwave heat-able, tasteless, soulless, pretty much inedible food.

And we like it like that because it is easy, it requires no effort on our part, and pretty much allows us to fit into a certain category, market, or demographic – and we don't have to think for ourselves. Since the flaws, in this current economic system have become apparent– with the crises and all, the question now is, are there any means by which the static manufacturer/retailer/consumer model can be broken?

And there is.

In Cape Town we've already supported the first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project, and this winter, Slow Food Cape Town, in conjunction with the Sustainability Institute, and farmers Eric Swarts and Erick Zenzele, will run the winter CSA bag project from 30th June through 18th August.

green map set to green the city of cape town

Submitted by Ahmed on Thu, 2009-06-04 11:52

You haven’t met before?
No, seriously, you haven’t?

Well, then… meet the Cape Town Green Map.
What’s that? You have no idea what it is? Well then, it seems a proper introduction is in order. May I formally introduce to you Africa’s first, very exciting, helpful, online, interactive Green Map.

A map, I hear you say? Well, as with all maps, it does provide direction – but with a difference.

No other map has attempted to chart and detail the city of Cape Town from a green angle before. This particular one is unique in that way. The map can be used to make greener lifestyle choices, and help people to make more informed decisions on how to live sustainably. It is also different because it is on-going, evolving and is constantly being updated.

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