Discover vegan baker Megan’s growing green route in Jozi

Megan Rodseth, owner of The Gypsy Kitchen Vegan Bakery, Jozi’s only 100% vegan bakery, shares her Green Route

The Gypsy Kitchen is Johannesburg’s only 100% vegan bakery and owner, Megan Rodseth, runs the bakery, baking and creating every single cake, cookie and baked good on her own.

The bakery came about when Megan met her partner, Norman, who loved sweet things but, as a vegan, he struggled to find vegan baked goods. In a bid to impress him Megan, and his daughter Bayley, used to bake together on Sundays.

Megan used to bake for friends out of her home but soon found that combining her full-time job as a swimming coach and baking, became too much. She decided to quit her swimming job and open up The Gypsy Kitchen.

Gypsy Kitchen 92
Megan Rodseth from Gypsy Kitchen

Here Megan shares her Green Route, her five favourite green spaces and places in and around Johannesburg (and Magoebaskloof).

The Gypsy Kitchen

Gypsy Kitchen IMG_20180823_132933_611

The Gypsy Kitchen is my creative space, a space that I am so proud of because along with my dad we built it with our hands and every day I get to help people with 100% vegan and allergy-free treats. I get to be creative and push my creative boundaries using food. I get to see kids and adults faces light up when handing over their custom celebration cakes. I love that I get to support other small local businesses by using and stocking their products.

The Joburg Fresh Produce Market

joburg market
Joburg Fresh Produce Market

The Joburg Fresh Produce market can be found in City Deep, Johannesburg city centre and it is quite an experience. You cannot leave there without a buzz. You have to go early as the fresh produce gets sold out pretty quickly. We arrive at about 5am and then it’s all systems go. There is a system we have got down as it can be quite overwhelming. There are sheds and sheds of fresh produce, forklifts moving at crazy speeds, beeps of cars and trucks, people from all walks of life from street vendors to restaurant owners to big local supermarkets. We go to stock up on fruits and vegetables for our family. Being vegan we eat a lot of fresh produce and together with two other couples our veggie run is way more cost effective and the experience itself is something everyone should experience at least once. We don’t leave without a fresh pap and beans from the ladies who have food stalls there, eaten on the bonnet of our car as the sun comes up. Joburg Market

Leafy Greens Cafe

IMG_20171221_074848_547

Leafy Greens Cafe, a hidden gem, can be found on the Casalinga grounds in Muldersdrift. It’s a small restaurant run by Antonia and her team. Leafy Greens cater for vegan and vegetarian foodies. They have a dedicated menu but their buffet is our go-to. We like to go early on a Sunday so we get to see them bringing up the day’s picks from their enormous gardens to be prepared for the buffet. We love to walk through the gardens at the end of our meal and see how it changes throughout the seasons. They have the most beautiful flower garden to attract bees so that the bees can help pollinate the veggies and the cycle goes on. Leafy Greens Cafe

Read Antonia’s Leafy Greens Cafe Green Route here

Our garden

IMG_20180618_113936_340

Our garden has taken us about four years to yield some amazing fruit and vegetables. I will admit I definitely don’t have green fingers, I help in the garden but all the credit goes to my partner, Norman. We have kale, spinach, broccoli, turmeric and ginger. Pink and purple potatoes, Malawi cucumbers and chillies. Custard apples, figs, apples, lemons and limes, avo trees and pomegranates and one of our favourite trees that has just taken off, papaya. Being vegan isn’t just about what we eat so we use all our offcuts and put them in a container which we put in our earthworm box and then transfer into our soil to help our garden grow.

Our Farm: Blueberry Heights

Our family farm in Magoebaskloof is our favourite place to visit. With no electricity, no cell phone reception, just rolling mountains, avo, mango and litchi plantations. Blue gum forests and fresh mountain air. This is where we come to refresh our minds and bodies. Our absolute favourite place to go here is Blueberry Heights at The Mountain Sanctuary restaurant. It’s an organic blueberry farm where you can pick your own blueberries. Rows and rows of blueberry bushes, it’s magical.

The Gypsy Kitchen Vegan Bakery can be found at the Sunninghill Village shopping centre. Corner Maxwell Drive and Edison Crescent.

Advertisements

Date night: DIY hemp heart chocolates

Sometimes we all need to take a break from saving the world and I had one of those nights recently where I decided to be a bit silly and mix up a batch of my delicious chocolate hemp balls. And have some fun on Instagram. 

Making your own sweet treats is so much cheaper than buying them plus there’s no packaging involved – I simply store them in a jar in the fridge. The only problem with making a big batch is that you’ve always got some handy. But is that really a problem?

Here’s my silly Instagram post, for your entertainment.

 

It’s not really a recipe because I make it up as I go along but I soak dates in hot water until they go smooshy. I pour off the excess date syrup and store it in a jar (homemade date syrup) and I then add chia seeds, oats, cacao powder, toasted seeds (small seeds are better than big) and hemp hearts to the date mixture.

Mix well and leave to stand for half an hour to allow the oats and chia to swell up and if the mixture is still too wet, add some more oats or chia to get the right consistency. It must be firm enough to roll.

You can add whatever you want – chopped-up cranberries, toasted coconut – experiment and find your favourite combo.

 

Toast seeds lightly in a pan – no need to use oil, just keep an eye on the seeds to make sure they don’t burn and keep shaking the pan. Take a small amount of the date mixture and roll into a ball, then roll each one in the toasted sesame seeds until coated.

 

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

And finally – the finished product – Choc – Oat – Date – Chia – Sesame – Hemp heart – Hazelnut balls.

img_20190104_205209_167

Of course you can always find a proper recipe to follow, I won’t be offended 🙂

Here’s one that I found on Simple Vegan Blog – they’ve only used three ingredients but you can experiment with adding your own seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Raw cacao balls

For more plant-based recipes that use hemp hearts take a look at Kiwi vegan chefs @TwoRawSisters Two Raw Sisters

 

 

Chill off-grid on Numbi Farm in the Karoo

The first time I heard about Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm near De Rust I knew I wanted to visit. Everything about it appealed to me – off-grid, sustainable, eco-conscious and peaceful. Especially the peaceful part.

The owners of Numbi Valley Farm, Kathryn Eybers and her partner, Ross, live and farm in a tranquil spot far from the madding crowd and Kathryn also gives massages and teaches yoga to supplement their sustainable lifestyle.

In 2018 I asked Kathryn to describe her Green Route (her five favourite Green Spaces and Places) for Green Route ZA and she did so with effortless grace. Explore the Karoo with Kathryn

But I had to see it for myself and so we took the slow, green route from Cape Town, via Barrydale, stopping off in the small village of De Rust before heading for the farm. Taking the slow green road on Route 62

Kathryn has a dream of seeing the whole De Rust region implementing permaculture as a way of life and producing food. Since she and Ross moved to the farm 14 years ago they have transformed it from a barren, disused farm to a highly productive space through the implementation of permaculture ethics (care of the earth, care of people and fair share).

‘Permaculture is the clever use of design principles that work with nature not against it,’ says Kathryn. If you’d like to find out more about the principles of permaculture take a look at this link

Many of the commercial farms in the area grow seeds for multinationals and the soil is bare due to the use of unsustainable farming practices.

But you won’t find any GMO or commercial seed at Numbi Farm, only heirloom seed and Kathryn uses permaculture principles for her self-sufficient fruit and vegetable garden. There’s a mobile ‘chicken’ tractor with a small flock of very happy chickens who do their bit to clean up a veggie bed once it’s been harvested.

While the chickens eat they fertilise the soil and when one area is cleared the ‘tractor’ is moved to the adjacent bed where the whole process is repeated. These are the natural, organic principles of permaculture in action.

fynbos IMG_0983 copy

Before we arrived at @numbi_valley we pre-ordered a basket of freshly-picked organic fruit and veg from the glorious permaculture garden. There were peaches, nectarines, leeks, rocket, spinach, kale, courgettes, squash, gem squash and others that I’ve forgotten! The squash was so tender I ate everything: skins, seeds and flesh.

IMG_20181204_124042_019
Permaculture veggies freshly picked for our arrival at Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm.

You’re surrounded by silence. There are no domestic animals at the farm, apart from the chickens and this means no cats stalking birds and lizards, or dogs hunting for bigger things like field mice. As a result, birds are incredibly tame, lizards scuttle around confidently and you can watch the field mice scamper in the grass near the cottage.

Below is my little piece of paradise at @numbi_valley : Hammock, plunge pool, birdsong and plenty of books.

plunge pool IMG_0997 copy

The cottage is cosy and comfortable, solar-heated water is on tap and for chilly times there is a simple donkey-boiler stove in the bathroom to ensure a hot shower.

Living off-grid for three days reminds me that the load shedding (euphemistic word for power cuts) we’re enduring in South Africa could be history if we embraced solar power. Relying on fossil fuels to keep the lights on is an exercise in futility. Solar power and other forms of green energy make sense on so many levels and many countries in the rest of the world have already embraced it – even sun-challenged countries such as Britain.

While we are on the farm for three nights we don’t venture far. It’s a place to take time out. Switch off social media and relax.

We met full-time travellers Jill and Zac from Visa.Vis.Travel at the farm where they were volunteering, dividing their time between working in the permaculture garden, daubing clay onto the main house and building a new website for Numbi Valley. Check out their beautiful web work here Numbi Valley 

I was hoping to persuade them to spend more time in Cape Town so they could build a website for Green Route ZA but they had places to go and people to meet.

IMG_0976
The view from our off-grid cottage on Numbi Farm: an olive grove, mountains and clouds.

It was great to have recycling options in the kitchen: scraps went to the chickens and other organic matter went into the compost heap.

I didn’t join Kathryn for yoga but I did treat myself to a back massage, followed by a relaxing sound journey. And I spent a lot of time reading in the hammock or just watching the birds flit about, dipping in and out of the plunge pool to drink and cool down.

full moon IMG_1008 copy
Full moon rising at Numbi Valley Farm

#greenrouteza #offgrid #permaculture  #paradise  #greentravel  #ecotravel  #peace  #slowlife #hammock #numbivalley

We paid for our accommodation, veggies and massage – this is a genuine Green Route ZA review.

 

 

 

Taking the slow green road on Route 62

‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost is one of my favourite poems and ‘the road less travelled’ is what determined our route on a recent roadtrip through the Little Karoo.

We took the road less travelled and that made all the difference. 

I glanced at the huge sign on the side of the road as we left Cape Town. ‘If you speed you’re a killer’ it read. ‘I wonder whether that will slow down any speed-freaks?’, I thought, and I came to the conclusion that it depends which road you choose. 

Route 62 has its fair share of silly drivers (you know the ones: ignoring the speed limit, overtaking on blind rises and solid white lines and generally bullying everyone else on the road whenever they can) but there are a lot less of them haring along Route 62 than you’ll find on the N2.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost1874 – 1963
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thanks to the slow pace of Route 62 we were able to amble along, taking in the views and stopping at interesting coffee shops. I admit I’m a snob when it comes to coffee and I refuse to pull over at a service station for anything other than petrol. Fortunately for fussy me Route 62 has plenty of cafes and coffee shops that don’t sport Wimpy signs.

Our first stopover was Barrydale with its hot pools just outside the town. We stayed on a farm where Nguni cattle roamed the bush and I woke up early to find them eating the scrubby grass in front of our cottage while birdsong greeted the day. 

We took a detour to Suurbraak along the beautiful pass and revisited Paradise Organic Restaurant: I discovered Paradise early last year when I stayed at Cape Nature‘s Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in its off-grid cottages. See Going off-grid at Cape Nature’s Grootvadersbosch

If you’re interested in finding more eco-friendly accommodation in South Africa, take a look at Love to Stay and Eco Atlas. Both sites list eco accommodation and each listing indicates its green credentials, from solar power and composting toilets to permaculture veggie gardens and recycling. 

The next day dawned grey and cloudy so we decided it was a good day for the hot springs and soaked ourselves in the warm waters while the jacaranda trees were buffeted by the wild winds. Before the storm hit we headed for the Blue Cow Cafe, tucked away overlooking a dam in Barrydale. A great place for a hearty farm lunch and good coffee while watching weaver birds do their thing in the trees overhanging the dam.

It’s encouraging to see that even in off-the-beaten-track places plastic straws aren’t on offer. As tempting as it is to go with the flow when you’re on the road, we try to stick to the basics – using our own shopping bags, buying local and waste-free and avoiding takeaways. Why get a takeaway when you’re on holiday – surely the whole point of taking a break from the daily grind is to slow down, pause and sip your coffee slowly?

After Barrydale we headed for Ladismith and came across the recently-opened @posthouseladismith where we sat in the shady courtyard and had coffee / chai latte and freshly-baked wheat-free banana muffins.

Owner Lesley told us how, when her husband passed away two years ago, she ‘needed something to do’. Lesley had her eye on the dilapidated old post office for years and snapped it up when it came on the market. The renovations took a year and she and her team have transformed it into a cosy cafe with tables outside and in, plus a two-roomed B&B. You can also buy eco-friendly cleaning products and locally sourced edibles here. 

IMG-20181129-WA0000

Our final destination on our slow roadtrip was Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm but I’m saving that for a separate post. Taking it slow.

Explore the Green Route in the Karoo with Kathryn from Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm

#greenrouteza  #ecotravel  #greentravel  #slowtravel  #slowlife  #route62  #ladismth  #ExploreSA  #discoverSA   #restoration  #vintage  #posthouseladismith

Eco-shopping at Rest-A-While with Lisa Grant in PE

Lisa Grant, owner of the Rest-A-While Farm Stall outside Port Elizabeth, shares her Green Route and her love of vintage and eco-friendly products.

I loved plants, mud and old-timey things from a young age and my whole house has always been decorated with antiques and vintage goodies from days gone by.

One day, many years ago, I looked around my house and started to see the functionality of all these antiques that I had acquired and realised that they were so well and thoughtfully made that I could actually still use them today without much strain on the environment (I could use my power to make power). So that’s what I started doing.

I sew things on my non-electric, treadle-table sewing machine, mince everything from steaks to veg with my hand-held mincer and make my own pasta. I am looking into spinning wool on my spinning wheel (haven’t got that far yet) and more.

44853569_2207810576130139_8473614662737330176_n

I have never wanted to be office-bound, or stuck in my car for 5 or 6 days a week. So when the opportunity to run my own little farmstall knocked at my door, I jumped in with both feet, shouting with glee.

Rest-A-While Farmstall is an exclusive little country store, just on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, that is only open on weekends.

43880752_2201090486802148_3183455529598976000_n

I truly believe that ‘local is lekker’ and that so many of the products being frivolously thrown away can be re-used either as is (such as antiques) or upcycled into something fantastically useful, without harming the world too much.

At Rest-a-While farmstall we sell collectables, antiques, second-hand books, locally made, artisanal goods, plants, pesticide-free, freshly picked, locally grown fruit and veggies and more.

Our motto is: ‘We buy local, so you can buy local’. We are focused on supporting smaller businesses and individuals who make good-quality, earth-friendly products like our handmade craft mustard, made right in Port Elizabeth or our coffee beans that are roasted right in the barista’s house from organic and ethically sourced coffee plantations) (we do not serve coffee) and our freshly baked bread, made with stoneground flour, in small batches, in a home oven.

What we have not been able to source right in Port Elizabeth, we try to get from as close as possible, like our mushroom-growing kits.

Lisa Grant from PE at Rest-a-While

We avoid plastics like the plague at Rest-a-While farmstall, and have collaborated with The Owl Rescue Centre to be a drop-off point for our customers plastic bottles and tubs (which the Owl Rescue Centre will melt down and make owl houses and bat habitats from)

‘We are definitely a low-waste little store, working very hard to be a zero-waste store.’

When I am not at Rest-A-While farmstall I am either in my garden, growing our GMO-free and heirloom food (we sell our excess at the farmstall) or if the weather is cold and wet, I will be sewing useful things from material scraps on my treadle table sewing machine (like fancy re-usable fabric bags) or upcycling something, like making paper roses from unreadable books or else giving sustainable living tips on my facebook blog, Organic Vibes.

I have always been interested in gardening, from a small child, but I discovered food gardening when I learnt of the horrors of genetically modified seeds and crops and quickly researched heirloom and open-pollinated seeds.

38241948_2151040355140495_3594744926463590400_n
Lisa and an array of fresh, local produce available at Rest-A-While.

I fell in love with food gardening when I tasted my first harvest of lightly steamed, 100% grown by me, purple cauliflower. A fresh, nutty taste, like none that I had tasted before. Wow, I was sold! In my opinion, everything homegrown, (especially by your own hands) without pesticides and big pharma messing around with it, is so much tastier, but, the cauliflower…amazing!!!

When I learned that heirloom seeds could be saved, the little researcher in me went crazy! I learned all I could about how not to cross-pollinate species (and eventually played around with how I could).

I love having a little earth-friendly home, in the suburbs of PE, with a very small footprint on the earth. We save rainwater, re-use greywater, use food and plants as medicine and cook exclusively on dead, fallen wood on our biomass/rocket stove, wood-fired oven or even just the plain old braai. We obviously have a couple of hens, for eggs, in our little suburban paradise, also fed on a GMO-free diet.

I love helping others with tips and tricks on how to live this lifestyle too and so I started my little personal blog on facebook, called Organic Vibes. I am living my dream every day and doing it while stepping lightly on the earth.

Where is Rest-A-While? Kragga Kamma Road, Pebblespring Farm, 1km from Cows Corner, 3.5km from Lakeside Road, Colleen Glen, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.

Find Rest-A-While on Facebook Rest-A-While Farmstall

 

Trying to be just a little bit greener

Buying gifts can be really, really stressful. Who gets what and how much should you spend? And what about the environment? How on earth can you factor in green gifts along with everything else?

It’s actually not that difficult to be just a little bit greener and to take a Green Route. Simple things like buying in glass, not plastic. Or gifting items that facilitate a greener lifestyle can make a small but significant difference. And when it comes to wrapping paper, think again and ditch the shiny stuff that can’t be recycled.

20181106_130253.jpgOn a personal level I’ve opted for green gifts that are also useful so this little combo is a winner: a reusable @spazastore dish cover and a shopping bag that folds up small. Both from @zerowastestore.cpt

I’m also giving food in jars – locally-produced olives from Crisna’s Olives, plum sauce from Clark’s Kitchen and honey from hives in Muizenberg, all purchased from a shipping container shop at Montebello Design Centre in Newlands called The Farm Kitchen Table

Nude Foods in Cape Town also has a shipping container pop-up shop at Montebello, next door to The Farm Kitchen Table, open on Saturdays. So Nude Foods at Montebello  is another place to do some plastic-free gift shopping.

20181215_123634

If you’re struggling to think of gifts for vegan friends the Cape Town Vegan is your go-to guy. He’s compiled a list of edibles that you can shop for that will earn you vegan brownie points with your plant-based friends. Check it out here: Cape Town vegan Christmas shopping list

I recently discovered @EcowithEm on Instagram (at the same time as I discovered that I was spending an average of an hour and a half on Instagram every day!) and I’m smitten by her sassy illustrations. Her Gifts that aren’t things (Kinda) graphic is typical of her clever, humorous way of getting a green message out there.

eco with em gifts that aren't things

I could go on and on but I think it’s time to wind down now. If you’re in Jozi there are loads of green gift options – shop at Leafy Greens Cafe or buy a friend an organic gardening course from Joy Phala’s Organic Kitchen Gardens. You can read about Joy’s Organic Green Route in Jozi here Joy’s Green Route

Read Antonia’s Leafy Greens Route in Gauteng here Antonia’s Green Route in Jozi

#greenrouteza  #spazastore #zerowastestore #ditchtheplastic #greengifts  #zerowastebloggersnetwork #zerowastesouthafrica

 

 

 

Taste gorgeous granadillas behind the scenes at Jill’s

I ‘found’ Jill on Instagram where she is @lifecanbeadreamsweetheart and realised that we were nearly neighbours. I invited myself around to see her beautiful garden full of veggies and fruit trees and discovered an urban oasis.

GRANADILLA BOWER IMG-20180216-WA0005
Jill’s behind-the-scenes photo of her granadilla bower.

Sitting under Jill Mettler’s granadilla bower on a hot day in her Tokai garden, sipping on a fizzy cordial made from freshly-picked granadillas, sparkling water and a sprig of flowering basil, I decide to buy a granadilla vine.

No matter where you sit in Jill’s suburban garden there is something edible nearby and – with a bit of a stretch – I can touch five or six ripe granadillas, dangling above our heads.

There are some tall sunflowers near the cool granadilla hideout, seeds ripening in the sun and the sturdy stems support a batch of beans, snaking their tendrils up the sunflower stalks.

IMG-2308
Jill enjoys sharing the bounty from her garden.

‘Sharing is so important to me … whether it be experiences, plants, food or a laugh. Nothing makes me happier (besides being in my garden) than helping someone who’s interested in plants to start growing too.

‘I’ve set up and filled many gardens and at gatherings, you will find me pruning someone’s lemon tree, or weeding or dead-heading.

‘My garden is a place of peace and there is always a visitor wanting to come and enjoy the quiet of my special little spot and no one leaves empty-handed. There are always a few extra seedlings I grow, bottles of preserves from harvests, a plate of food or a bag of produce,’ says Jill.

 

When I wrote a story for SA Garden&Home magazine about Jill’s garden photographer Karl Rogers took the photos. I love the behind-the-scenes photos that Jill took on the day of the shoot.

JILL IMG-20180216-WA0003
Jill’s behind-the-scenes snaps of the Garden&Home shoot with photographer Karl Rogers.

Want to make Jill’s fig and granadilla cheesecake, above? Find the recipe here White chocolate cheesecake with honey-baked figs

jill KARL SHOOT
Photographer Karl Rogers sets up a shot.

My gardener, Lusindiso Koko, who works at Oude Molen in Pinelands during the week, is planting up seedlings that Jill dropped off.  There’s broccoli raab, turnip and celery going in the small beds that he prepared last time he was here.

Ever since I did a one-day ‘introduction to permaculture workshop’ with Peter Staley from Cape Town’s Permaculture Institute, I’ve been trying to get our garden to produce food.

Not easy during a drought but with most of the lawn dying due to lack of water I decided to experiment with alternatives. So now half the lawn is succulents and half of it is veggie beds in progress. So far I’ve got the hang of growing spinach and rocket and I’ve even been able to harvest seeds so that I can keep the greens growing.

Follow Jill on https://www.instagram.com/stories/lifecanbeadreamsweetheart/

staticmap

 

 

View this post on Instagram

Inspired by a hands-on gardener I met who gifted me juicy granadillas I've been gardening up a storm in the storm. Very little rain but exciting for Cape Town nonetheless. I felt duty-bound, as the Queen of Pallet Gardens, to create a page from my drought diary on my blog. Go on, have a look at the link in my bio 🙂 just having a bit of fun but useful stuff too #dayzero #drought #compostloo #greenroutecape @twygmag @atactilelife @helenwalne @darlingsweet @comradecarrot @veldandse @thepinkgeranium @robynsmith @davidbristow @sameye.am @curious_leigh @anurbanshepherd @plantabundance @faithjuice @faithfultonature @thegreenhousenursery @carolinetravelwrite @jocelynkolia @lekker.stanford @janehenshall @lifecanbeadreamsweetheart @jackiemay_sa @organickitchengardens @reneepilates @rebelseed @visitstanford

A post shared by Melanie Farrell (@melanie.farrell1) on

 

 

Take a walk through the fine flora and fauna of Fynbos Estate

Diana Simons takes us on a green tour of Fynbos Estate, a 300 hectare farm and  nature reserve  in the Paardeberg mountains, only an hour from Cape Town.

1gdn and verandah.JPG
One of Diana’s indigenous gardens with vineyards in the background.

Fynbos Estate is  the pride and joy of myself, my partner Johan, our family and friends and the growing community of people who love the farm.

We have devoted 20 years to developing it into the beautiful place it is today.  It is riven into our souls and we feel deeply privileged to be here and to be custodians of this wonderful place.

The whole farm is a green area and our major commitment is to a green environment with minimal footprint.

Dewalt + Serai Wedding

Fynbos has a mountain nature reserve of 270 hectares with varied flora including pristine fynbos species, and also varied fauna. It took us seven years to legalise it to keep our part of the mountain safe from development of all kinds, building and mining in particular.

I love hiking up the mountains – the plants are fantastic and the views spectacular.

DSCN4405
Hiking in the mountains above Fynbos Estate.

Coming down from the farm there are 16 hectares of organically farmed vineyard from which we make natural wine. There  are also  a number of  mostly solar-powered guest cottages situated in fields of wild grasses.

Along the drive up to the farm are 900 five-year-old organically farmed olive trees producing a crop of mixed variety olives. We make natural organic olive products from our olive harvest, as well as organic lemon products from our lemon trees.

We rent out a number of properties, from our country farmhouse to rustic farm cottages, and each house has its own indigenous garden. I established the gardens with the help of mentors and I’ve only learned how to garden since we moved to the farm.

The happy reality is that regardless of where one looks on this farm it is beautiful and natural and tranquil.

29
Diana and one of the rescue donkeys on the farm.

We live off-grid in the nature reserve in a small renovated workers cottage . From here the views are spectacular and I often pinch myself to make sure it is all real.

To find out more about us and to see phots of the farm and nature reserve  see our website fynbosestate.co.za 

Daisies come out to dance on the West Coast

Janette Bennett, who lives in Kwelera Mouth near East London, drove from the East to the West Coast last year to find flowers but the lack of rain had left the land parched and flowerless. But that all changed this year when she hit the road again and discovered dancing daisies galore. And gannets.

Last year, we came to Nieuwoudtville and there were no flowers. It was the worst drought in living memory and it was close to a catastrophe. Call it folly, call it human perseverance … we landed up here again this spring, and found flooded dirt roads, icy temperatures and little hope of a show of flowers. And then the sun shone.

41283102_10155388849951256_8227609162339581952_n

Coming from the east coast an’ all, we are fascinated by the west coast. So we detoured via Doringbaai on our way to our overnight stop at Lambert’s Bay. We are immediately greeted by a man with bunches of fish, who tells us that this is the best place on earth – it’s full of diamonds. And fish. The manager, he says, found a diamond in that gravel over there, went to Cape Town and was never seen again. His father, he continues, went to sea to catch fish and never came back. And that’s the way to Lambert’s Bay, he points.


We trundle off down the dirt road, dodging a scorpion, and then get into trouble because we have managed to travel the entire distance on a private road.

The guards are more friendly when they discover that I am from the Transkei; they are too, and they let us go (could be a long drive back to find the “right” road). And then Lambert’s Bay … we have come here to see Bird Island. And it’s so worth it! For close to two hours in the late afternoon, we watch the Cape Gannets – 8,500 breeding pairs, and counting – busily engaging in a sociable behaviour that allows them to live right next each other in nests made of guano. Eventually the smell – it makes you dizzy – drives us off, and we find a sweet little restaurant on the shore that feeds vegetarians.

All images and words by Janette Bennett.

Stroll along Janette’s wild Kwelera coast

Follow Bridget’s fabulously green route in Maputo

Bridget Hilton-Barber, from the Ministry of Fabulousness, shares her Green Route in Maputo, Mozambique.

 

Maputo is a heady mix of African and Portuguese, along with Brazilian, French, Arab and Oriental influences. It’s been dubbed Little Havana because of its retro charm and tropical attitude – and there are some interesting green angles to this fast changing and friendly city.

From weapons to art

I just love the spirit behind the art of Gonçalo Mabunda, one of Mozambique’s most famous artists. Mabunda has forged a major international name for himself with his sculptures made from decommissioned weapons salvaged from the civil war. His famous ‘thrones’ are a powerful commentary on Africa’s postcolonial rulers. He’s won a string of international awards and his work is treasured in galleries in Berlin, Paris, Palm Beach, New York, London and Cape Town.

My colleague Vuzi and I visit Mabunda in his atelier in Karl Marx Avenue. He’s friendly and chilled – I have met him several times before – and we sit outside in his courtyard and drink beer and talk about life, work and all the pieces in his yard that will soon be transformed. Like old bullet casings and bullets, rusty AK47s, even a Russian field typewriter. Mabunda is opening a new show in London shortly he tells us, and building a new atelier in nearby Catembe where he hopes to train young artists. Check out www.goncalo-mabunda.com

jardim tunduru
Jardim Tunduro, Maputo’s botanical gardens.

Green heart

One of my favourite escapes is into the green heart of Maputo – into the city’s botanical gardens, Jardim Tunduro. Designed by Thomas Honney in 1855, the gardens have reflected the rise and fall of the city, and its rebirth since the civil war. The gardens have recently been upgraded and given a good dose of TLC and we wander under the poetic twists of ancient trees, though subtropical pockets, down gentle pathways. We see tourists, lovers, office workers and students. Saturdays are very popular days for weddings in the garden.

There is a small and pleasant restaurant with a humble menu and good vibes. Near the entrance to Jardim Tunduro is the vast mounted statue of Samora Machel, a gift from North Korea to the people of Mozambique in honour of the man who led them to independence and who died in a plane crash in 1986. Check out www.danatours.com for a guided tour of the gardens and other sights of Maputo.

spices, mercado central
Hot stuff at Maputo’s main market, the Mercado Central.

Peri peri sauce

We head for the main market, the Mercado Central, whose building dates back to 1901 and features row upon row of stalls selling fresh fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, spices, cloths, curious, baskets, cashew nuts and more. It’s lively, pungent, vibrant. I buy the signature peri peri (chilli) sauce to take home. It’s made from chilli and lime and is just heavenly.

Diagonally across the road from the mercado is Casa Elefante, a fabric shop with rooms filled from floor to ceiling with printed cloth. You can buy excellent local, Tanzanian and Indian fabrics at bargain prices to take home drapes for chairs and tables, as wall hangings, or as sarongs for friends.

The city’s best loved tree

SS Maputo - Fig Tree Bar (2)
The saved fig tree is now the major feature of the Fig Tree Bar

One of my favourite spots in the city is the Southern Sun on the Marginal, the city’s main beach road. They say that most business deals in the city happen at Southern Sun and the hotel is busy and efficient. It was refurbished and expanded a few years ago – and manager Bruce Chapman will remain my hero forever because of his refusal to cut down a fig tree to make way for more rooms. The rooms made way for the fig tree instead, and the saved tree is now the major feature of the Fig Tree Bar, a residents’ bar in the hotel, and a great place for women guests to hang out on their own. https://www.tsogosun.com/southern-sun-maputo

Maputo’s first vertical garden

vertical garden maputo

It’s always good to see greening efforts in a city, and this vertical garden at one of the BCI bank’s (Banco de Crédito e Investimentos) branches in Avenida Julius Nyerere is just delightful, and even thought I can’t find information about who designed it, it puts a smile on my face every time I drive past.

Recycling takes off

Maputo is improving its recycling and waste collection systems through a mix of technological innovation and sheer determination. The Mozambican Recycling Association (AMOR, which means love in Portuguese) has established waste collection centres, called Ecopoints, all over town. Waste collectors bring their waste to the Ecopoint and get paid according to weight and type of material. AMOR is also supporting a small company using tricycles to pick up waste from clients and bringing it to Ecopoints. In addition, the municipality has also launched a mobile app called MOPA that citizens can use to report waste problems.

Ministry of Fabulousness

Go eco at Graceland retreat in Limpopo

Anders Ragnarsson, co-owner of Graceland Eco Retreat in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo, with his partner, Douglas Walker, shares his Green Route.

Kudu River Valley
Captivating views of the Kudu River Valley

‘My favourite part of the day is waking up in my bedroom looking out through the panorama windows down into the valley. The sun rises over the mountains and floods the floors of the valley in a rich, warm glaze.

With a cup of coffee in hand, I walk out into the garden that I have planted full of indigenous aloes and greet our giraffes and other “bokkies” that are peacefully grazing by the house.

Pricilla misty morning pictures
Priscilla peers through the branches of trees on the property at Graceland Eco Retreat

Graceland Eco Retreat, which I call home, sits on the slopes of the Kudu River Valley. It offers a unique kind of untouched mountain bushveld with endless views of the northern tip of the Drakensberg, the farm land at the bottom of the valley and the mountain range beyond. For me Graceland Eco Retreat is a place of serenity joining nature and the closeness of the wildlife. It brings a certain kind of harmony to my soul and mind.

Anders Ragnarsson
Anders Ragnarsson amongst the aloes he has planted at Graceland Eco Retreat

After breakfast I like to head towards Woodbush Forest Reserve, the second largest indigenous forest in the country and only just a few minutes away from Graceland. I love this area for the variety of hiking trails it offers, allowing me to take a short stroll through the undergrowth or a longer hike all the way down to the Debengeni Waterfalls. The sounds of the birds such as the Cape Parrot, Narina Trogon and Black-fronted Bush Shrike as well as the Samango monkeys, accompany me while hiking deep into the lush, green forest.

After an early-morning hike, I drive through the Magoebaskloof Mountains to the Mountain Café for an early lunch. The café is situated on an organic blueberry farm and serves superb meals overlooking a dam and their herb and vegetable garden. I like the welcoming atmosphere of the café that allows you to take your dogs with you and even offers your pooch a snack while you enjoy your meal. In season, you can also get a punnet and pick your own blueberries.

Just up the road is the quaint little village of Haenertsburg. A walk through the centre and up the hill takes you to the old cemetery, which is the most beautiful and peaceful place in town. Draped in flowers and greenery it has spectacular views of the protected grasslands.

The Eatery
The Eatery in Haenertsburg serves up fresh local produce

I end the day at The Eatery, a stylish little restaurant and bakery on the main street. You should indulge in a second meal at this place and bring some freshly-baked bread and tarts home. Friday nights are reserved for a variety of tapas and wines. Both the Eatery and the Mountain Café, with excellent chefs and staff, are part of the slow food movement and they try to serve as much local and organic produce as possible.

Serapana house sunset

On the way back you make a stop at the Great Heads to watch the sun set over the mountains. Endless views on top of the mountain will in a magical way connect you with nature leaving you at peace before you head back to Graceland Eco Retreat for an exotic and heart-warming meal by the fire.

Graceland Eco Retreat is situated roughly 50km North-East of Polokwane on 85 hectares spanning the Kudu River Valley. It is totally off-grid and uses solar power for all lights and geysers without compromising on creature comforts.

Graceland Eco Retreat

 

Jill’s life can be a green dream, sweetheart

Jill Mettler from Tokai in Cape Town has transformed her suburban garden into an organic food forest, filled with fruit and vegetables. Jill shares her Green Route with us.

IMG-2308

‘My green route begins when I wake up, with an organic espresso. Armed with the previous day’s coffee grounds and vegetable peels, I make my way into my food forest and take note of what is ready for the day’s dinner prep.

IMG-0854

A scatter of coffee grounds around acid-loving plants like the blueberry bushes, a snack on some fresh peas, a granadilla that’s just fallen and a few berries.  Then it’s off to feed the earthworms in my worm farm and tap off some vermi-tea in a watering can to feed my edibles.

IMG-2148

On weekends and on beautiful evenings, I only need to take a few steps out of the gate and I am in Tokai forest behind our home. I always take a cloth bag along so I can pack in some foraged mushrooms, pine cones for crafts or a braai fire and a few bags of pine needles for garden mulch.

As the forest clears the fragrant fynbos area begins with staggering mountain and vineyard views. The whole family and the dogs are always ready for a long walk along the decked path which leads around the reserve. It leaves you energised and in absolute awe of the beauty of nature.

IMG-0197

Sometimes we cut through the shoulder-high pelargoniums and protea bushes until we reach the stream where there’s always a social reunion, bumping into friends or playful dogs and their owners.

It’s such an honour to have this incredible space living in a vast city like Cape Town. We are able to run and explore nature at its best.

edible mushrooms

My ultimate spot in Cape Town is Chapman’s Peak. We’ll pack a good picnic and arrange to meet the family or friends and spend the day on the majestic mountain, taking in the endless ocean views and relaxing till it’s time for sunset and watching the world transforming into glorious pinks, oranges and mauves.

There are few places on earth that can compete with the natural beauty of this spot.

IMG-2754

The week begins filling up the pantry and fridge. My first stop is Organic Zone in Lakeside. They have a wide range of fresh produce, including rare fruit and veg such as tree tomatoes, black carrots and banana shallots.

I was so excited to grow unusual veggies and fruit because no-one else was selling them but Organic Zone has a big seasonal variety of fresh produce. Mine are not so special after all! But I am actually thrilled more people can get to experience these exciting crops.

I’ll buy a few ready-made foods and puds, biscuits for the kids (made with organic basic ingredients as you would at home ie five ingredients instead of 20). They also stock grass-fed dairy, fermented foods and small industry bottled products like vinegar, mayonnaise, fair trade chocolate and all earth-friendly and natural cleaning products for home and body.

IMG-2445

 

 

 

Sample a slice of Stanford country life

Inspired by Jennie Chancey’s Overberg Green Route I decided to see (and taste) country life near Stanford for myself.

KR IMG_0824 copy

I’m fascinated by farms in and around Stanford. Perhaps one day I’ll live on one with a couple of chickens?

A favourite farm is Klein River Cheese with its bucolic setting and delicious cheese for the tasting. We had the cheese platter for two – a selection of cheese made on the farm, served with homemade pickles and ciabatta for R230.

Our picnic was washed down with cider made by local Birkenhead Brewery and we split a chocolate brownie.

The best tables are outside and the kids can run around on the lawns.

Little Brownstone Farm’s Fiona Baxter

At the morning market held every Saturday on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel I discovered Fiona Baxter from Little Brownstone Farm and her hand dyed and spun sheep’s wool.

Knitters will love the colours of the natural dyes Fiona makes from fynbos flowers and bluegum bark on her farm. Fiona spins some of  the wool on her farm and also employs two women in Stanford as spinners.

Havercroft’s Brydon Havercroft

I also met Brydon Havercroft, from Havercroft’s restaurant, at the market on the stoep, and came away with a selection of sublime ‘health’ cakes.

market yumminess IMG_0854 copy

Real chocolate, local dairy, stoneground flour and almond flour were some of the options. Perhaps not quite ‘health’ but oh so delicious.

4 slices IMG_0867 copy
Cakes from the Saturday morning market at Stanford Hotel – stoneground flour, raw chocolate and almond flour are just some of the ingredients used in these farm bakes.

Wandering the Wandelpad

MF wandelpade IMG_0809 copy

Exploring the Wandelpad that snakes alongside the Klein River I had to stop and take in the trees and the winding pathway that gives occasional glimpses of cottages on the riverbank.

MF wandelpad cottage IMG_0812 copy

Sunset at De Kelders – take time out and live lightly

Thanks to the fabulous Jennie Chancey for sharing her Green Overberg with me.

Take a fabulous walk in The Parks of Johannesburg

To get a real sense of Jozi being the world’s largest man-made urban forest, come and play in The Parks, says Bridget Hilton-Barber of the Ministry of Fabulousness 

The Parks is the collective name for the well-heeled, densely forested suburbs of Parktown, Parktown North, Parkview, Parkhurst, Craighall Park and Westcliff, which border the city’s biggest and best public parks.

I’m talking one mother of a green belt with great possibilities for adventure – from soul strolls and family picnics to dog walking and crazy-mad mountain biking. Plus some gentle eating and drinking of course.

I walk often with friends and dogs at the much loved and well frequented Emmarentia Park and Botanical Garden (www.jhbcityparks.com) which is 81 hectares and consists of two sections – the wilder, dog walking park which has magnificent trees, dams and wetlands, as well as biking trails and canoeing facilities; and the formal botanical garden which has themed sections, an arboretum and a play area for kids, no dogs allowed.

BHB emmarentia dog park copy
Emmarentia dog park

The dog park section is well maintained, and the dogs generally well behaved, if not entirely enthusiastic, considering how many are walked here daily. There are plenty of shade trees and benches for moments of quiet repose, there are three river-fed dams that are home to happy ducks and healthy plants, and it’s easy to walk for a couple of hours without feeling like you’re in a city at all.

Sometimes it’s even better, sorry dogs, to head for a ramble around the botanical garden on a Sunday. This is unabashed garden romance and is a popular spot for wedding photographs.

BHB emmarentia rose garden copyI love the rose gardens with its different levels of pools and spitting fountains, I especially love the Herb Garden with its soulful statue of a little boy and his buck, and also the Shakespeare garden, oh my, faints with delight. As Shake himself said, these flowers are like the pleasures of the world.

One of my other favourite green things is a brisk walk around Zoo Lake, one of the city’s oldest parks (it opened in 1908) famed for its fountains, its rowing boats and resident geese and ducks.

Zoo Lake can be rowdy on the weekends, but during the week, it’s a quiet and fascinating place to do a few laps, and I watch the passersby, admire the distant skyline of Braamfontein and sometimes have a coffee at the lovely Moyo restaurant on lake’s edge. “Perhaps”, wrote American poet Wallace Stevens, “the truth depends on a walk around the lake”.

BHB zoo lake 2 copy
Zoo Lake

Another gentle pastoral spot is the Delta Cafe  at nearby Delta Park. This small café in a converted old cottage spills out onto a stoep with views across the park and the horses in the paddock below.

They serve good coffee and fresh light farm-style meals, and I listen to the clatter of children and the chatter of cyclists. Delta Café has direct access to Delta Park’s extensive biking trails and is very popular with the weekend post-ride cappuccino crowd.

Delta Park is a massive 108 hectares of grasslands and woodlands with dams and waterfalls, and includes the delightful 7.5 hectare enclosure that is the Florence Bloom Bird Sanctuary, the oldest in Johannesburg.

Next to Delta Café is the extensive  Colourful Splendour Nursery which is always good for an uplifting wander. The nursery specialises in indigenous and environmentally friendly gardening and I leave inspired – and hungry.

Around the corner from Delta Park, inside the designer bottle store Liquor @ Craighall, I stop to buy cheese from Angus the artisanal cheese guy who sells a delicious array of organic cheeses from around the country, all free of hormones, antibiotics, artificial colourants and produced with vegetable/microbial rennet. Yum. Cheese by Angus

angus the cheese guyOn the first Sunday of every month, at Pirates Sports Club in Parkhurst, there’s the delicious Jozi Real Food Market  a child and pet friendly vegan market offering a range of fare including raw juices, coffee, super foods and fresh organic vegetables.

BHB jozi real food market bread (2)

And around the corner is the vegan Greenside Café, where owner, Dimitri Gutjahr, prides himself in his food combinations and says his customers love the way they feel, and the abundant energy they receive after eating there. Namaste.

Read more of Bridget’s Fabulous Green Routes here

 

Bridget Hilton-Barber of  The Ministry of Fabulousness shared her Limpopo Green Route with us in April last year Bridget’s Limpopo escape

Bridget’s Mpumalanga route Discover Bridget’s fabulous Mpumalanga route

Dig Eidin’s green gardens in KZN’s Nottingham Road

Eidin Griffin – aka Rebel Seed – lives on Edge Farm in Nottingham Road, KZN where she grows and harvests fruit and vegetables in her permaculture garden. 

My very local Green Route starts at my permaculture garden with the three noisy ducks. I pick some aubergines, a few handfuls of flowers and the last of the basil and check on the pumpkins that are finally drying off their vines.

One of my passions is open pollinated seeds (Rebel Seed on Facebook) so on sunny dry days I am gathering crispy dry bean pods or baskets of sunflower heads.

Hedge Shed
Interior of Eidin’s Hedge Shed workshop space. Image Jane Symes-Mathias of Black &White Studios

If I am not in the garden I am nearby in the shed preparing for an upcoming workshop, I host workshops at home for the ‘naturally curious’ such as zero waste, natural perfume and ethical gardening. (The Hedge Shed on Facebook)

Just down the road from our place is King’s School. This remarkable primary school is only one of three schools nationally to have been a WESSA Eco-School for fifteen consecutive years. Alan Paton once said ‘If you want to see what a South African school should be like go to King’s’.

The school is full of creaking wooden floors, children’s laughter, ancient trees and creative learning. An Outdoor Classroom with a cob pizza oven and small food garden is part of the grounds and it really is a magic place for both children and adults (www.kingsschool.co.za)

fordoun pic
Fordoun Farm

Heading out towards the N3 is Fordoun Hotel and I was delighted to be invited to help design and implement the Fordoun Farm Village Garden. This busy garden is nestled near the wedding venue and is full of box gardens, a woven wattle sculpture, a small essential oil distillation unit and is alive with fragrant edible herbs, flowers, vegetables, indigenous and a variety of fruit trees.

Later in the year we will be opening the gardens to the public in the Open Midlands Gardens programme and I look forward to showing people around and sharing ideas on seed saving and regenerative systems. (www.openmidlandsgardens.co.za)

Fort Nottingham Nature Reserve is 14kms from Nottingham Road and is a tiny village surrounded by paddocks of grazing thoroughbred brood mares and their foals. The Nature Reserve is on the right as you approach the village. It takes just over an hour to walk this lovely route and is a real tonic for the soul.

Take a picnic but remember to leave no trace. There are guided walks once a month that give access to the more remote areas. If you are interested in history continue onto the village and visit the museum there. (www.kznwildlife.com or http://www.wiki.sabirding.co.za)

eiden griffin seedsOn every second Saturday there are two exciting events in Rosetta, the bi-monthly Rosetta Market for some good coffee, excellent bread, and delicious berry products from local growers. If you are a carnivore be sure to get some home-cured ham products from Franco who ethically grows his own pigs in the beautiful Kamberg Valley.

Around the corner from 10am the local Barter Meeting at the Wine Cellar is always an interesting event. Locals with excess veggies, flowers, even household items meet up to swap and trade. (On Facebook Midlands Barter Markets).

The Wine Cellar is a family run business that has a glorious selection of wines, ports and champagnes to choose from as well as snacks and is a perfect place to stop off and enjoy a glass under the autumnal trees. (phone 033 267 7044)

Read Explore the Karoo with Kathryn at Numbi Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step into Mrs Vintage’s green Overberg

Jennie Chancey, also known as Mrs Vintage for her love of vintage clothing, lives in Stanford with her husband Matthew and their 12 children.

Green living is very near and dear to my heart, which may sound funny coming from the mother of 12 children, I realise,’ says Jennie.

Living in a heritage village in the Overberg means I have green space everywhere I turn, so narrowing down to just five is a huge challenge.

An ex-pat from the States, I’ve traveled all over the US and abroad, and I honestly can think of no place in the world I’d rather live than Stanford.

All I have to do is walk out my kitchen doors to enter a green paradise filled with indigenous South African plants, including several sections dedicated to succulents. This beauty of a space is all to the credit of our gardener, who has a magic touch.

I love to sit on the benches beneath the trees, listen to the birds, and watch the children running and playing. On rainy days, it’s my favourite view through the kitchen window, too.

I’m absolutely passionate about supporting local farmers, shopping and eating locally as much as possible. We are spoilt beyond belief in Stanford when it comes to food, as we have many award-winning chefs and eateries right here in a 7km radius.

Grazebreakfast
Graze breakfast – just around the corner!

But my very favourite is a few minutes away on foot – Graze Slow Food Café, which is the most literal farm-to-fork operation I know.

Chef Tabby and maitre’d Alex live on their idyllic farm 3kms outside the village and serve up delicious breakfasts Wednesdays and Saturdays and sumptuous dinners on Friday evenings. There’s also a produce market every Wednesday morning. I can’t tell you how much I adore this place!

We collect all our food scraps in a bucket that goes to their pigs each week. That means zero food waste in our house and more goodies for the pigs.

Graze Slow Food Cafe

SaturdayMarket
Every Saturday morning there is a market on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel

Every Saturday, we shop at the market on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel, a vintage gem in the heart of our village. Local farmers, bakers, artisans and cooks all gather with the best of their produce, and we try not to miss out on our must-haves. The Stanford Hotel

For me, it’s a slice of Chef Brydon Havercroft’s ‘leftover lemon’ cake (for my hubby, it’s his pork crackling!).

market yumminess IMG_0854 copy

I also try to grab locally-grown mushrooms, Erwin’s made-in-Stanford Viennas, Elsa’s haloumi, and the best wholegrain bread I’ve ever tasted.

Local is truly lekker!

When I want fresh air and exercise, I often put the baby in his push chair, grab a few littlies, and head out to walk.

Stanford has a 4.5km wandelpad that will take you through quiet groves, up hills and alongside the meandering Klein River. It’s well marked and easy enough for all ages, and it truly is a refreshing taste of nature with wonderful views.

I try to walk every day, and I often bump into neighbours and friends (and their dogs — Stanford is famously dog-friendly).

For a little more of a challenge, the hike up Phillipskop (where cave art was discovered in 2016) is an absolute must. I’ve put it on my Top Ten List of Overberg Must-See Places!

The Whitehouse family owns the conservancy with its charming cottages available for rent, and they have put in so much work to mark out trails to the waterfall, the cave, the saddle, and the topmost peak.

I recently hiked to the cave to see the rock art and was stunned by the views, the abundant fynbos and the wildlife (lots of klipspringer and a soaring eagle).

This is an outing for the entire family, as the ascent is an easy one until the very last steep section leading up to the cave (and even that is manageable). Only 7kms outside our village, this is a treat I will repeat.

Read Jennie’s blog post about the hike Hiking Phillipskop

What I love most about my green route is that it’s right where I live. Come see us and let Stanford show off!

Follow Jennie’s blog  Life is Lekker

Delwyn unearths his Greenpeace path in KZN

Delwyn Pillay, a Seed Freedom activist and volunteer for Greenpeace Africa based in Durban, shares his Green Route 2018.

My 2018 Green Route starts within Durban Bay, said to be one of the largest ports in the world and the busiest in Africa. Within this industrial harbour, you can find a relatively tiny (about 20ha) nature reserve, the Bayhead Natural Heritage Site.

This green refuge protects at least three species of Mangroves (the last substantial patch of mangroves in the Bay) and coastal grassland. It is an open estuary and was once the largest mangrove swamp in KZN, but sadly is now completely surrounded by industrial development. This tiny gem is worth a visit and protection from further development, pollution by industrial waste, solid waste and invasive alien plants.

delwyn map
Delwyn Pillay traces his Green Route 2018 on a map, starting at Bayhead Natural Heritage Site, Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, Silverglen Medicinal Plants Nursery, Roseway Waldorf School and Enaleni Farm

The next stop on my 2018 Durban Green Route is Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve (13,1km from Bayhead Natural Heritage Site). The 253 hectare ‘green lung‘ located in the suburb of Yellowwood Park offers refuge for Durban’s few renaming coastal forest and grassland habitats, which is home to many species of antelope, zebra and abundant birdlife.

Tucked away in the heart of Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve, surrounded by giant Yellowwood trees, is Coedmore Castle a gracious old stone homestead (it was built by Dering Stainbank in 1885 as a family home). The castle has been in the family for four generations, and contains many of the original household contents, including furniture from the 19th century and old family portraits. Although donated to the state by Kenneth Stainbank, the family currently manages it. It is open to the public for guided tours, school outings and hire of the grounds for small weddings, functions and photography.

Next up (about 11,5km from the Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve) is the Silverglen Medicinal Plants Nursery. The Nursery is situated within the Silverglen Nature Reserve. It’s said to be the largest medicinal plant nursery in South Africa, and contains an extensive collection of indigenous and medicinal plants.

Silverglen Nursery is an example of an environmental initiative on the African continent that connects with themes of biodiversity. Silverglen was established in 1980, by Geoff Nichols, the then Conservation Officer of the eThekwini Parks Department, and Protus Cele, an Inyanga (herbalist) who owns a successful muthi business in Umlazi Township. Nichols and Cele joined forces to address a vital need to start to propagate rare and threatened indigenous plants that were used for healing. In 1986, they started a project called The Silverglen Medicinal Plant Project.

delwyn enaleni
A tour of Enaleni Farm

Between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, 7km from the N3 you can find Enaleni a 10ha agro-ecological farm. A great site of learning the value of agro-diversity, heirloom food plants and the ecological and health benefits of growing your own food. The farm is open to visits and eating experience where guests get to explore the politics of taste and appetite as well as our food diversity. Food grown, harvested and transformed from a 350m radius of your table.

It’s a responsible way of eating local, with fewer food miles, zero post-harvest treatments and packaging. It’s fresh, healthy, clean, paged with stories of heritage, origin and cultivation, most of it hand prepared and celebrates a remarkable diversity of food and creativity. The esteemed host is Richard Haigh, the owner and builder of Enaleni Farm.

Roseway Waldorf School is on top of Alverstone Hill, a conservancy surrounded by farmsteads, fresh air and overlooking a green valley, just five minutes outside Hillcrest. The school has a completely organic food garden, using bio dynamic techniques. Huge varieties of crops are grown, and used in the school kitchen and the excess yield is sold to the parents. The school also hosts a Natural & Organic Night Market. The esteemed host is Rohinee Kalideen – a guru food grower who manages the school food garden.

Read Delwyn’s Durban Green Route for 2017 here Delwyn’s Greenpeace Route

To share your Green Route email melanie.jayne.farrell@gmail.com or whatsapp 0835566779

Natasha’s guide to a Nourish’d vegan view of Cape Town

Natasha Ozora from Nourish’d Cafés and Juice bars in Cape Town shares her vegan view of Green Route.

Nourish’d Cafes are cafe/juice bars that bring awareness about sustainability, consciousness and environmental issues. I serve fresh, natural nourishment to the community and I make my customers pay for their paper straws. When they ask me why they get a full-on lecture from me about why!

Nourish’d Café and Juice bar – Kloof Street and Lower Main Road, Obs

Nourish’d is definitely one of my green spots. I started Nourish’d a year ago with the aim of creating more awareness around recycling and waste pollution to landfills in and around Cape Town.

I love seeing my customers come in with all their glass jars and getting their R10 deposits back or paying R5 less for bringing in their ECOcoffee Cup and not taking it away. It’s a relief knowing that I am not serving my products in single-use plastics.

Comrade Carrot erft 81
Natasha and Comrade Carrot at erf 81 market

Erf 81 Organic Food Market

I found this place about a year ago. It is the most beautiful market in Cape Town to go to on a Sunday.

Erf 81 Market is at the corner of Military and Leeuvenvoet roads in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town. There is a stunning view of Table Mountain, chilled Sundays with authentic African beats, food, organic veggies, crafts, vintage fashion and a petting farm for the kids. It isn’t held every Sunday but when it is it’s the most special Green Zone.

Noordhoek Farm Village and Faithjuice bar

I love this place! Its peaceful energy and little juice bar here make me feel so calm. You sit in the veggie garden in the sunshine. Whenever I need to get out of the city for a couple of hours I find myself here enjoying a fresh juice at Faithjuice. I then drive through to Scarborough and sit on the beach and watch the surfers.

Street Scapes / Khulisa Social Services

Street Scapes is an organisation run by a group of homeless people who have a beautiful urban garden in the heart of the city.

I go there to buy all my organic lettuce, rocket, basil and mint etc… It’s so humbling going here to be with these incredibly green-fingered people who make a small living with the money they get for their produce. I met a woman there who also talks to plants. She couldn’t believe I did it too. Khulisa Social Services

GezaKapa Recycling Drop off

I love the GezaKapa drop off and believe in it so much. Their goal is to create awareness around recycling, inspire the community involvement and empower locals to recycle and become more conscious about what we are putting back into the earth.

This organisation is run by run by young, energetic social entrepreneurs based in Cape Town, who are passionate and committed to treating our earth and our community with respect by providing a unique service that is both enjoyable and educational.

Green City Cape Town

GreenCity is a project I am working on with Mischke Bosse. This collective was founded in 2017 by Mischke Bosse and Natasha Ozora. Green City Cape Town aims to change the face of sustainable living and to create a more accessible and talked-about, environmentally conscious culture.

This is a project that I hold really close to my heart. Please stay tuned for the release of our next collaborative meet up next to Nourish’d.

WATCH the GreenCity Cape Town video here

GreenCity Cape Town video

staticmap

 

Discover Bridget’s fabulous green Mpumalanga escapes

 

Bridget Hilton-Barber of  The Ministry of Fabulousness shared her Limpopo Green Route with us in April last year. This year she explores the green side of Mpumalanga.

Mbombela (Nelspruit) is the hot ‘n heady centre of the Lowveld. Or the Slowveld as we call it, like the Lowveld but slower and steamier.

The city has boomed in the past decade to become the lively colourful gateway to the Kruger National Park (KNP), Mozambique and Swaziland.

It’s often hot, noisy and busy – which I love – but what I love even more is to escape from the madness into the green heart of the city, the delicious Nelspruit Botanical Gardens www.sanbi.org

How great is it to have a botanical garden right in the middle of the city?

Set at the confluence of two rivers, the Crocodile and the Nels, the gardens feature indigenous and exotic sections, ancient trees and a sexy verdant rain forest thronging with birdsong.

I take the bridge over the river and end up at the waterfall, next to which is the lovely Kuzuri restaurant and a visitors’ centre. An Afro-chic spot, Kuzuri has a good fusion menu and green vibes.

I meet up with my friend, artist Nhlanhla Sibiya. He makes upcycled jewellery and I buy myself some bracelets, his funky design and green ethos hits the spot. Find him on Facebook. SibiyaN art designer

Another great green escape from Mbombela is on the other side of town at Halls Farm Stall the iconic Slowveld-roadside stall off the N1 about 2km from town. It’s set about with fever trees and has turned from a little padstal into an impressive collection of shops, a nursery and Sunday markets.

The Sunday Family Market www.freshlocalmarkets.com has organic food and lifestyle stalls, arts and crafts, community stalls and photo booths which are cool.

You can picnic outdoors under the trees looking out across the green alley, Slowveld style. The farm stall which is open all week is a great place for local fare like Sabie Valley Coffee which is grown in the blue green mountains of nearby Sabie. www.sabievalleycoffee.com and new and intriguing Rottcher Slowveld Gin which is made from oranges www.rottcher.com.

One of the best places for a long lazy lunch is Rissington Inn on the edge of Hazyview, about 40 minutes drive.

It’s like staying at an old friend, so convivial and gentle. The farmhouse style hotel has spacious rooms, a generous veranda and dining room, a quirky bar, library and lounge, and lovely views over green lawns and ancient Lowveld trees.

Their food is amazing. Their menu is inspired by London restaurant Menage a Trois (French for threesome!) which encourages diners to try three or four smaller dishes instead of one big meal. It’s not tapas, but a bigger variety of smaller dishes. Rissington’s menu is superb including vegetarian and vegan. www.rissington.co.za

Think beetroot falafel with chilli beans; West African potato and peanut soup; chickpea and butter bean pate, vegetable Vermouth pasta. Yay!

blyde river bhb (2)

From Hazyview the Panorama Route heads east through subtropical foothills and farmlands, into the mountains of the Blyde River Canyon, the third biggest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon and the Fish River Canyon, and the world’s only green canyon.

I head for God’s Window via the little escarpment town of Graskop, which is famed for its arts and crafts shop Delagoa Trading, next door to the Graskop Hotel, that sells everything from painted fishes, baskets and cloths to handbags, beaded jewellery and wire artwork.

I take a long slow day trip that includes the mind-blowing God’s Window and the Three Rondavels, the edge of the Blyde River Canyon and escarpment.

I return via Ohrigstad and Mashishing and the Long Tom Pass, which winds its way down in a series of astonishing hairpin bends with majestic mountain scenery.

But first a quick visit to Hops Hollow, which is the highest organic micro brewery in Africa at 2149 metres above sea level. They use the purest mountain water here to make five different beers, including a traditional bitter ales.

Brewmaster Colin Ntshangase is a handsome cricket loving Zulu, who recommends his Mac’s Porter ale for women – he says it has a “malty creamy fullness, smooth as silk”. www.hopshollow.co.za

Bridget’s Mpumalanga Green Route has also been featured in UK digimag Indy Eats

The Ministry of Fabulousness

Gardening at night

What do you do in a drought when your previously green and verdant front lawn now looks like a stale Weetabix? Why you dig it up and take to gardening at night.

night garden vintage jug IMG_9994

Vintage pottery and small succulents in the night garden.   Image: Melanie Farrell

The lawn has a huge hole in the middle of it and when Handy Dave got home from work and saw it he asked, bluntly, ‘What is it?’ When I told him it was our mini-wetland he rolled his eyes. I don’t think he had quite the same vision as me.

I pictured Cape Leopard toads lounging about while dragonflies hovered in the air above the mini-wetland in what used to be our front lawn.

Hubby could only see a huge, sandy hole in the middle of our already-dead-from-drought lawn. I’m calling in someone who knows what they are doing before I dig myself in even deeper.

While waiting for my back to recover from the aforementioned lawn digging episode I created a mini-night garden applying the usual rule around here: use what you have, spend nothing.

It helps to have lots and lots of mini pots of succulents to pose photogenically.

sunny night garden IMG_9974

I was going to waffle on about giving my study/office a Zen makeover but I’m so exhausted after digging up the lawn I’m skipping that bit. Will return in due course.

I have a problem with acquiring clutter so the simplicity challenge is a huge one for me. I don’t think you can expect cleared surfaces everywhere, a room’s got to have life, but I’m going to see how far I can go.

I’m not ready to go fully Scandi white – and if you look at the colour in the rest of the house a pure white room would be decidedly off-colour.

Green Route news

Wine and Swine has opened in Noordhoek, serving slow-cured charcuterie and local cheeses and wine.

Noordhoek has a new cheese, charcuterie and wine shop, Wine & Swine. You’ll find familiar faces from @Faithjuice ready and waiting to put together a toothsome cheese and charcuterie platter for you.

Have you heard about the Green City Cape Town initiative?

To find out more about the Green City plan I’ll be chatting to Natasha Napoli from Nourish’d Cafe in March when she shares her Green Route in Cape Town with us.

View this post on Instagram

Welcome to Green City! 🌱 Through this online space we hope to: -Change the face of sustainability, by making it fun, easy and accessible to anyone and everyone! -Share inspiring local businesses, brands, organizations and individuals- all working towards a more sustainable way of life, and thus inspiring change. -Document our journey towards a more sustainable life (hey, we’re not perfect), but also our daily adventures and behind the scenes of our lives- and how all of this can coincide -Have you join us! Document YOUR eco-warrior moments by tagging us or using the hashtag #GREENCITYCT. We’re a community and we’d love to share everyone’s efforts! ♻️ ______________ The incredibly talented @savillian_ & @_etiennefourie made this video for us from our first event, WASTE LESS MEET-UP- we can’t wait to host another one! WHO’S IN? ______________ 🎵”Let’s Fall in Love Some More” by Al Bairre (thank you!)

A post shared by Natasha & Mischke (@greencity_capetown) on

Ottolenghi was in town?

And then Ottolenghi went shopping for veg at Oranjezicht City Farm Market. Really. Here’s an Insta-photo to prove it. Not that I was there and he was incognito so not a lot of people spotted him. Clever guy – imagine the stampede if the organic veggie buying public of Cape Town had realised who was tempted by tomatoes in their midst.

https://www.instagram.com/ottolenghi/

Here he is at Bertus Basson at Spice Route eating a ‘perfect’ salad.

View this post on Instagram

Corkscrews, Franschhoek, Western Cape.

A post shared by Yotam Ottolenghi (@ottolenghi) on

And of course …. Clifton.

View this post on Instagram

My glass blocking the view..Sorry.

A post shared by Yotam Ottolenghi (@ottolenghi) on

Explore the Karoo with Kathryn at Numbi Valley

Kathryn Eybers, who co-owns Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm near Oudtshoorn with her partner, Ross, shares her Green Karoo Route.

Tortoise back vegan haven
Tortoiseback Vegan Haven near Klaarstroom.

We love to visit Brett the Vet‘s Tortoiseback Vegan Haven  just outside the tiny Karoo town of Klaarstroom. Brett grows organic heirloom veggies and exquisite flowers.

Wellbeing is a health food and beautiful Indian clothing store in the main street of Oudtshoorn. But the main reason we visit them regularly is that the roast their own peanuts and press freshly ground nuts into the jar you brought with you from home….there is NO other peanut butter as delicious. We also buy our eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries from them and stock up on pulses.

Numbi Valley Yoga studio: the most beautiful place to practise, daily classes are offered in the cob studio with magnificent views across the Olifants river valley and Swartberg range. A time to stretch, build strength, feel alive and thrive.

Walking in the Karoo hills and mountains. There are beautiful wild places to explore and such exquisite and interesting Karoo succulents.

On the first Saturday of the month the De Rust Country Market, I love supporting local!! There is good coffee, sweet treats, artisan bread, organic veggies, good second-hand books and clothes, pannekoek to support the recycling project in town, local crafts and arts.

Kathryn: ‘A very proud pomegranate grower.’

Read Green Route ZA’s review of Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm. Go off-grid at Numbi Valley Farm in the Karoo

The magic that is Numbi Valley 

Kathryn 072 1918672
Love to Stay review: Love to Stay review
Eco Atlas blog review: Eco Atlas review

Dip your toes into the Atlantic with Robyn in Kommetjie

Robyn Smith, the founder of Faithful-to-Nature, lives in Kommetjie with her husband, and sons Cassie, who’s five, and three-month-old Kojo Viljoen. Robyn shares her aqua-green route with us.

Faithful-to-Nature founder Robyn says: ‘I don’t just love where I live – I absolutely adore our little seaside village and most days have trouble deciding where to walk because there are so many beautiful spaces on the beach, wetlands and mountains.

View this post on Instagram

Best pals #love

A post shared by Robyn Smith (@robyn_on_earth) on

The first stop on my green route is Long Beach Kommetjie. It must be one of the finest vistas in the world with the turquoise waters and mountains of Hout Bay and Cape Town in the distance. I am an aspiring surfer and so it is a treat to have waves like this on our doorstep.

We share the beach with seals, otters and sometimes even dolphins and it is one of the few natural eco-systems still remaining on the Cape Town coastlines because the kelp is not cleared.

View this post on Instagram

Wistful #nature #moody #wistful #noordhoek

A post shared by Robyn Smith (@robyn_on_earth) on

The Whole Earth Cafe in Scarborough is a much-loved and regular breakfast spot of ours. They serve delicious whole food meals, great smoothies and get a special thumbs up for me for moving to reusable bamboo straws as soon as they became available on the South African market. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Noordhoek common is always a special treat for us and the dogs. Apart from its stunning natural beauty, it is a very special place for my son as members of the community have taken it upon themselves to build little fairy homes in the trees for the kids to enjoy! It is abundant in frogs, birds and other tiny creatures.

Imhoff Farm Village is a family favourite. The Blue Water Cafe uses a fair amount of organic ingredients and the views are ‘out of this world’. You’ll find artists, reused vintage clothes stores, a stunning deli and much more on the farm.

View this post on Instagram

Just another beauty.FULL day #imhoff

A post shared by Robyn Smith (@robyn_on_earth) on

A little further afield, near Constantia Nek lies the very protected Orange Kloof Reserve. This can only be accessed with a booking and a permit from the Table Mountain National Park. You can contact the Mount Pleasant office on 021 6894441, at least two weeks in advance. Permits can then be collected at their office between 08h00 and 15h30 Monday to Friday, or faxed or emailed to you by Beulah or Tina upon request. It is totally worth the admin – the reserve reveals untouched natural splendour and is water abundant.

Faithful-to-Nature

staticmap

Busisiwe shares her Eastern Cape seed route

Busisiwe Mgangxela, an emerging rural farmer near Hogsback who is passionate about keeping things natural and traditional, shares her Green Route.

My background as a nurse educator where good quality nutrition is the first line of management in health care drives me and gives me strength to continue even when challenges arise.

Caring for plants, the environment and mother Earth are my passion. As I continue with this caring I know that in turn these are obviously going to care for human beings. There would be less chronic diseases that are mainly caused by unhealthy eating and eventually there would be less burden on the health budget for preventable conditions.

I use agroecology principles in my food production which looks at a balance in the ecology system where humans benefit from nature and vice versa. Soil preparation is by use of kraal manure, compost, vermicast, vermiliquid from my inhouse worm farming, my free-range indigenous chickens and cows.

Diversification through crop rotation and companion planting makes this possible. Different vegetables, herbs, flowers and grains thrive in my garden.

Hogsback. I am in a beautiful area surrounded by Amathole mountains in a basin comprised of 13 villages not far from a tourist attraction, Hogsback. Natural forest and valleys that are not disturbed give tranquillity and a beautiful breath taking view.
Natural rivers emerging from the mountains that do not run dry and are far from contamination by industrial pollution except for house hold livestock that freely graze and roam in between houses.

Catha holiday resorts in Qoboqobo. This is a beautiful getaway right in the rural village of Qoboqobo (Keiskammahoek) which is a pride of Catha community being owned by the CPA. This community refused to take money from Land reform but wanted to be given their land back and the area was developed into a self catering being a responsibility of the community and is well kept.

Ntaba ka Ndoda I like this space for its sacredness. It is where the Xhosa legend Chief Maqoma’s grave lies. It is my heritage and my pride.

 

Taste Nikki Brighton’s KZN Midlands on a plate

 

Nikki Brighton – vegetable grower, barterer and photographer – shares her green route on a plate in the KZN Midlands

I like to think I am a locavore. It’s quite a trendy thing to be right now, but makes complete sense to me.

With so many farmers’ markets in the KZN Midlands, it is pretty easy to eat all local. The Midlands Barter Markets also fill me with joy – with money out of the equation, the focus is squarely on the abundance in our gardens and neighbourhoods – often that we take for granted.

Here are five of my early summer favourite plates:

Breakfast  Fresh all garden fruit salad of gooseberries, tree tomatoes, loquats and oxalis flowers (10m) to go with bartered oranges (1km).

Followed by fennel flavoured eggs. So easy and so delicious. A teaspoon of Champagne Valley Stonemill flour (112km) stirred into 4 tablespoons of milk (18km) then added to bartered beaten eggs (1km), stir in chopped spring onions and fennel fronds (10m). Drop spoonfuls into a hot pan to make little crumpet-like omelettes. As one side cooks, flip over to cook the other side.

sorghum, apple, celery salad
Sorghum, apple, celery salad Image: Nikki Brighton

Lunch could be seriously low food miles colourful lunch salad of red cabbage, carrots, (Dovehouse Farm Shop 2km and grown within 15km), micro-sprouts from Gillian Milne (15kms) oranges (1km) fennel and radish flowers (10m).

Or if we expand our definition of local to include other parts of KZN – Sorghum (300km), apple (110km), celery (7km), bartered pecans (11km) and Wana Farm maas (15km) inspired by Mpho Tshukudu and featured in her fabulous book Eat Ting.

courgette with yoghurt
Courgette with yoghurt

For supper, a regular spring favourite which needs to cool to be at its best. Fried courgette slices (these were from 21kms away, but also available closer to home) layered with Tatsfield Farm yoghurt (21km) lemon juice and basil leaves (10m). This dish is far more delicious than it sounds.

Give local living a try. It’s delicious!

See Nikki’s blog Plant Abundance 

Nikki will facilitate a workshop at The Hedge Shed in Nottingham Road on 26 May 9 – 12 Cost R300. A-Z of Local – creative inspiration from Nikki’s Little Green Book to live lightly and abundantly. See The Hedge Shed on Facebook or contact Eidin Griffin to book: 083 429 2867    thehedgeshedkzn@gmail.com

 

www.plantabundance.wordpress.com

What to do in a drought

I was going to write about resolving to be more focused and organised about zero waste living but all I can think about is water.

Everyone’s talking about poo these days. At coffee mornings and birthday lunches, high teas and evening soirees.

I’m sure it’s discussed at every water cooler in Cape Town’s city centre as office workers prepare to be evicted from the city. No flush, no work, basically.

It’s come down to that.

Other far more erudite writers than I are coming up with solutions to the crisis and my favourite is Helen Moffett. Read her wise and witty blog to get a sense of what’s really happening in Cape Town as Day Zero looms. There are more than 1001 ways to save water

I can’t help wondering why the city isn’t initiating regular switch-offs to eke out the remaining dam water. Surely having the taps off for two days a week (or something similar) will be better than no water for who-knows-how-long?

There’s a sense of urgency in the streets and malls of the city. Queues for 25-litre water containers are snaking around the streets, portable showers have sold out everywhere and Capetonians are googling ‘How to build a humanure composting toilet‘.

I wonder whether there are designated ‘wee stall’ in women’s bathrooms in office blocks or are people still being squeamish about ‘if it’s mellow let it yellow’?

I don’t know the answers and I’m not interested in assigning blame but I agree wholeheartedly with Helen’s rallying cry. We need to all pull together and help each other out. It’s not going to be easy.

Because I like posting pretty photos, and images of water buckets and hosepipes (or worse) aren’t terribly attractive, here’s a snap of a rosette thing I made out of recycled ribbons and a crochet gift tag.

The ribbons were going to adorn a dress I decided to rescue but then they turned into this. (See previous post under ‘distracted’.) A Year of Small Steps

rosette thing IMG_20180120_205227

And, finally, here’s a blog link about How to quit the supermarket. It was going to be in the post focused on zero waste living but it’s been eclipsed by the water crisis (but not forgotten).

How I quit the supermarket

 

 

Helen Walne, underwater-er

Helen Walne, a writer, editor and ‘obsessive underwater-er’, shares her blue-green route.

‘I swim in the ocean off Cape Town pretty much every day, usually with my camera jammed down my costume. These pictures were all taken in winter, when lovely mad people I know come swimming in only their cozzies.

I’ve recently got into ice swimming (almost every swim in Cape Town feels a bit like one!). To qualify as an ice swim, the water has to be less than five degrees. I’m practising for one scheduled to take place in the Matroosberg and have done a few ice baths. It’s all about the mental state: I try to be quite Zen, slow down my breathing and avoid overthinking things. Go with the, um, floe.

I’ve always loved being in water. As a kid hiking in the Berg, I’d
swim in the rivers, no matter the temperature. If there was water, I’d want to be in it: pools at parties; garden ponds; Scottish seas; lochs.

I once swam in the Beagle Channel off the tip of South America. It was freezing but so satisfying. The colder the better.

I didn’t swim properly for years until I did a few lengths at the gym and remembered how much I love it. I started pool swimming, and that became too repetitive, so I moved on to the sea. I’m pretty terrified of the ocean, so it’s been a great way to conquer a lot of fears. And the light underwater on a sunny day! It’s another world – like a magical garden. I think I only swim and float about because of that light. I reckon diving is going to be the next logical step.

What is disturbing is the amount of  plastic on our beaches and in the sea – and this is just the stuff we can see. The number of micro-particles is huge. I picked up 20 black bags of plastic off  Lagoon Beach in Cape Town recently – most of it cooldrink bottles. There really is no need for us to buy cooldrinks. All we need to do is be more organised and bring our own water.’

Stroll along Janette Bennet’s wild Kwelera coast

 

Writer and photographer Janette Bennett, who lives in Kwelera Mouth near East London, shares her green route with us.

‘I tend to hang out in and around my home (fairly hermitty), editing and writing, making bags and whatever, gardening and beaching.

The first stop on my green route is my garden. We share it with bushbuck, monkeys, guinea fowl, butterflies and birds. No poisons are used here; we use neem, garlic and chilli sprays for bad goggas, and we fertilise with liquid and compost from our earthworm farms. It’s mostly local indigenous, and we are known to sometimes feed ourselves out of our veggie garden.

The Blue Barn, just off the N2 at Mooiplaas, is growing in popularity as a wedding venue. I love it for its superb Sunday breakfasts and fabulous farm chic, with interesting recycling and beautiful indigenous plantings.

The beach at Kwelera Mouth Village is one of my best spots ever. I grew up on Transkei beaches and just can’t deal with lots of people on the beach. Nearby Yellow Sands, at the mouth of the Kwelera River, offers big waves, big surfing and big crowds. The Kwelera stretch reminds me of quiet, soul-feeding Wild Coast strolls.

Murambi Rose Cafe, with unpretentious decor and good lunches, offers stunning view over rolling hills to the sea. From here, I have watched fish eagles play. It’s an occasional music venue and it has the cutest chapel on the premises.

I love the atmosphere and the decor – mostly created from recycled and found objects – at Tea In The Trees near Cintsa West. It holds monthly markets, music events, yoga classes, among other things.’

Wild Coast
Wild Coast Image Janette Bennett

Olive Goes Green. Part 2.

Sisters are going green for themselves!

ILOVE OLIVE A FUNSTYLE BLOG

Plastic to the left, plastic to the right, plastic, plastic everywhere in sight!!

“So mum when are you going to get over this phase of not wanting Plastic in the house?” “Is this like the time you wanted us to call you “maman” and not mum, or is it like the time you said you were giving up alcohol? Whatever it is please make it stop.

Authors 14 year old son

Frida is probably the only “child” in the family happy with the transisition

Oh ye, of little faith family of mine! Although I will be the first to admit this is @#%^$ hard. When I started this challenge I didn’t really take into account the impact that it would have on our little household yet alone the environment.

To give you a little report back on my progress, here are some changes and how they are working out!!

Dog…

View original post 602 more words

Objection Letter to Dow 2,4-D due 17 March 2019

We need to stop GMO in South Africa and the rest of the world #GreenRouteZA

GMO S.A. Action Site

You can download a copy of the objection at this link if you are unable to copy and paste:
Dow Objection March 2019

Please don’t forget to add your name in the sections where there is in italics or yellow highlighting.

[Your name, email and Date]

TO: GMOAppComments@daff.gov.za
cc: office@acbio.org.za

re: OBJECTION TO Dow Agro sciences three applications for commercial release of three GM maize seed varieties genetically engineered to withstand the controversial war chemical, 2,4 D

Dear GMO Registrar

I STRONGLY OBJECT TO THE Dow Agro sciences’ three applications for commercial release of three GM maize seed varieties genetically engineered to withstand the controversial war chemical, 2,4 D involving stacked events involving glyphosate, glufosinate, 2,4 D and an insect resistant trait and the single trait event.

Due to the lack of effective labeling of GM foods in South Africa (this product may contain GMO…) I do not want…

View original post 1,423 more words

the path to eco-conscious living