Pat Featherstone, the founder of Soil for Life, shares her Green Route.
‘The peace and tranquillity of the Soil for Life (NPO) Garden Centre in Constantia attracts daily visitors who come to buy fresh food, herbs and edible weeds, compost, mulch, seedlings and organic products and food from the shop.
Soil for Life hosts three Open Gardens every year, two fundraising events, regular Grow to Live workshops, educational activities and hires out the beautiful “boomklas”. All income from these activities goes towards operational costs in the communities in, and around, Cape Town.
On my home ground, I visit the Constantia flower sellers. Moses Jaftha and his sons, Charles and Malcolm, have run this as a family business for decades. They have a wide selection of flowers, many of them are old varieties and they are very affordable. No ‘toxic’ flowers are grown on this land.
I frequently visit Whole Earth Cafe in Scarborough taking the spectacular drive along the coastline. The menu is true to nature, promoting a healthier lifestyle, using only the freshest ingredients that are ethically and locally sourced. Calm and inviting – a good place to go for meals over the weekend. Add R5 to your bill and it goes directly to the Redhill Literacy Project.
The Backpack was the first of its kind in Cape Town. It is spread over four Victorian houses with high ceilings and wooden floors, a crisp swimming pool, lush gardens, composting bins and vegetable gardens. They make a conscious effort to save water (some really ingenious methods) and energy. It has stunning views of Table Mountain and is close to all that Cape Town has to offer. There is a community craft shop where the profits go virtually directly to the crafters, and they have remarkable programmes for giving back to the staff and the communities in, and around, the city.
Damara Mopane Lodge in Namibia is the most enchanted place. Each chalet has its own garden planted with fruit trees, herbs and vegetables. They are bursting with emerald broccoli heads, maize, pumpkins, sorghum, carrots, spinach and kale. The place is ‘smiling with cucumbers and sunflower kisses’. The garden receives water from a ‘state-of-the-art’ recycling plant. The mulches and fertilisers are antelope dung and mopane leaves. The produce goes straight to the kitchen – I ate an incredible plate of salad freshly picked each night, followed by a plate of vegetables cooked to perfection.