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The Easy Peasy guide to growing your own food: Green Route

We are living in very strange times. Drought, fires, load shedding, ice floes, unemployment, coronavirus. 2020 isn’t looking like a very good year but there are signs of positive growth because urban gardening is trending in the wake of the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown.

I’ve been in lockdown since February 28.

This was the day that my husband broke his ankle in a motorbike accident on his morning commute into the CBD. I thought I’d be looking after him as he hobbled around the house, adjusting to life on crutches and working from home.

But, two days after his accident, I woke up feeling so ill that I couldn’t get to the GP and begged him, most piteously, to do a home visit. I was sent to hospital for swabs up the nose and the throat and a test for H1N1 (bird flu) and told I had H. Influenza (also known as Hib and babies and children get vaccinated against it. I can see why.)

So, while the rest of the country went into lockdown on March 26, we’ve been cooped up since February 28. Have I already mentioned that?

Sitting in my privileged home office with its bay window looking out onto the indigenous, water-wise garden that draws birds, butterflies and bees, I decided to revive my flagging veggie garden. I need some fresh, packaging-free greens in my life.

Since the drought of 2018, when I gave up watering the lawn and dug up half of it for my badly-timed veggie garden, the “veggie beds” have gradually given way to succulents and geraniums, scavenged from verges and propagated at home.

And I’m taking the easy route when it comes to planting. I’ve ordered a mixed tray of 24 seasonal seedlings from Easy Peasy Seedlings, part of NPO SEED, in Cape Town.

NPO SEED, based in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, grows seasonal seed trays, taking all the guesswork out of gardening for me.

SEED offers training for youths keen to pursue a career in permaculture and it has permission to carry on with the Easy Peasy Seedlings business during lockdown, being an essential food supplier. 

I order two April trays online and get a message to say that I can collect my seedlings from a private home in Kenilworth for a zero-contact collection. When I get there we keep our physical distance and mumble through our masks and I transport my seedling babies (trays includes Cos lettuce, cauliflower, kale, alyssum, beetroot, peas and spring onions) home. Find Easy Peasy Seedlings on Instagram for seedling updates @easypeasyseedlings

Seedlings sorted, let’s talk about soil. In our case, sand-soil. The wild and waterwise succulents and geraniums know how to handle poor soil but my seedling babies won’t be happy. Compost to the rescue. (to be continued)

This is an extract from a story I wrote for Daily Maverick: The Easy Peasy guide to growing greens

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To buy any Cosmic Bazaar products, including Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking and CBD for animals (Waffles the Wonderdog is taking this one), visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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You’re invited to join the Clovelly CAN art auction: Green Route

Clovelly CAN is hosting an art auction on the 24 Sept-26 Sept.

We have 33 artworks, all of which are donated and done by Clovelly residents (including x2 by me; x2 by my mom). (Photo creds to @mv_mid and @coconut_cracked)

By Taiji Morgan

At the beginning of April, a couple of neighbours and I decided to start a Community Action Network (CAN) in our neighbourhood of Clovelly.

CANs are part of a community movement that is country wide. All people are encouraged to take action at the neighbourhood level to to mitigate the worst anticipated health impacts of Covid-19 and the economic effects of lockdown. This appealed to me because it made me feel like I could have an impact as a 21-year-old on a gap year (second gap year lol).

The next step was to create a WhatsApp group for any neighbours to join who wanted to help each other, as well as help support communities beyond our own – who are impacted much harder than our relatively well-resourced neighbourhood.

Since then, the Clovelly CAN has grown enormously (80 members now) and we use our collective resources to help support food security efforts in under-resourced communities. We do this by partnering with community led initiatives and supporting their incredible efforts to look after their own communities. Our principal partners are Ocean View Organic Farm and the Wesbank soup kitchens (24 of them).

We aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon and in order to continue to raise funds we are hosting an art auction on the 24 Sept-26 Sept. We have 33 artworks, all of which are donated and done by Clovelly residents (including x2 by me; x2 by my mom). The event will be happening on Facebook but we will be sharing preview pics on Instagram. Check us out at @clovelly.art.can ! Your support, even just liking our artworks, means a lot to me.

You can find Clovelly CAN Art Auction on Facebook

Photo creds to @mv_mid and @coconut_cracked

PLEASE NOTE: DELIVERY/SHIPPING FEES WILL BE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE BUYER

You can find Clovelly CAN Art Auction on Facebook

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy any Cosmic Bazaar products, including Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking and CBD for animals (Waffles the Wonderdog is taking this one), visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

Featured

Manuela Wall grows a better future with her upcycled planters: Green Route

In this week’s Lockdown Life I catch up with Manuela Wall, the founder of Growbag, a small business in Cape Town that upcycles discarded advertising billboard material into eye-catching and eco-conscious planters.

I’ve known Manuela Wall, founder of Growbag, for about five years. I was looking for eco-conscious products and people in Cape Town to feature on my new blog. Manuela’s Growbags caught my eye – they are bright and colourful – plus they’re made from upcycled billboard signs. I went to visit her in the workshop and saw how the sturdy material is cut and stitched together with industrial sewing machines.

By Manuela Wall

I am 42 years old, was born in Split, Croatia and grew up in Berlin, Germany. I studied Marketing and Communications and at the end of 2006 I came to Cape Town for a holiday and stayed.

I got more interested in sustainability when asked to find upcycled products for a European client while running my online shop and sourcing business called www.bonsela.co.za in 2013.

Being European the consciousness about recycling and waste is instilled in me and so I was wondering what happens to the huge billboard advertising banners that one sees all over town on buildings and highways. While brainstorming products/sizes etc. and partnering up with an outdoor advertising media company in Cape Town – TRACTOR Outdoor – that is supplying me with most of the billboard material I started the Growbag project. I got to know the Soil For Life organisation and the wonderful work they are doing in underprivileged communities teaching people how to make their own soil and compost to grow their own veggies and live sustainably. The aim of my project was to make advertisers aware of their own waste, to create something beautiful out of it and to donate planters to urban gardeners in underprivileged communities.

Watch this video by Beautiful News SA showing how Manuela and her team transform old billboards into beautiful planters.

I live in Kenilworth with my husband and our beautiful daughter Stella and we have two cats. We live next door to my in-laws, my husband’s younger brother and their dog.

Lockdown life was pretty good, as I finally got to work through most of the things that were on my To Do list for ages, that is when we finally got into a rhythm of managing our time around our toddler’s schedule.

The effect of lockdown has been tough on the business as the main source of sales came from our stall at the OZCF market and the Watershed store and so unfortunately we had to scale down our staff in order to stay alive. This was the toughest thing to do as we grew into an amazing team in the last year and so having to lay half the team off was heartbreaking. And so going online was the only solution.

I updated my online shop www.bonsela.co.za and worked on marketing the Growbag products. It was slow at the start but picked up as people started to understand that living sustainably and growing one’s own food is the way to go. Most of our clients are people who already have a Growbag, which makes me so proud, as this means that we have real fans out there and that we have created a product that works! People are also taking more notice about their waste, where it goes and what it does to the planet, which makes me have a positive view about the future and reinforces my passion for what I do.

Lockdown Life:  Five Favourites

Soil For Life – a walk in their veggie garden is always an inspiration!

Norval Foundation – walk in the gallery garden is my favourite!

Newlands forest – for a good tree hug J and the recharge of mind and lungs!

Sea Point Promenade – for the smell of sea breeze and beautiful horizon views!

Beach walks – for the holiday feeling of having the feet buried in sand..

Businesses and initiatives to support:

Olive Handmade Soaps Because they do the best soaps in the world

OZCF Market in Granger Bay For the best experience in conscious shopping

The Beach Co-op For the great work they are doing in educating people about reducing ocean waste

The Watershed For the most amazing support they offered their traders / small businesses during lockdown incl. all kinds of interesting business related webinars. We’re looking forward to reopen our store in the Watershed first week of September!

Food Flow and Umthunzi Farming Community Love these for the way they are getting consumers see the importance of supporting small local farming communities

Typical Lockdown Day

Being kept busy by my beautiful toddler girl child. Studio production, admin and all things work related. I wish I could carve out more time to do things for myself and things like yoga etc,

What I appreciate most about lockdown The time we had with our baby girl and getting to know each other all over again..

What make me happy Little things like delicious food – homemade bread,  sunshine, walks on the beach or in the forest and stories of kindness. I love to see how excited people get when they discover our project/products.

Plant up potatoes in Growbag’s new easy-access design

We’ve got a new product! A potato planter that has a pocket for easy access of the harvest. (R290) What sets us apart from other similar products is that our planters have drainage hole and you can plant straight into them (except for the XS planter). 

The stripy range has a printed vinyl body but recycled base. All the other planter are 100% recycled from old billboard advertising material. We now offer a gardening starter kit with soil/compost and seeds from Soil For Life. Our floor mat is a new product that we have added for all that want to keep the mess of gardening to a minimum: R350. Our single and double pockets can be ordered in various colour with and without print/graphics.

Growbag on Facebook . Growbag website . Growbag on Instagram

#PayitForwardZA

Get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics

Hemporium SA sells sustainable clothing, accessories and cosmetics online. My Hemporium SA bag made from hemp twine by the women at H18 Foundation eco-NPO is my favourite and it’s great to be able to support an NPO when buying a tote. Did I mention how much I love my hemp twine tote? Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Author and urban farmer Jane Griffiths savours the sounds of silence in Jozi: Green Route

In this week’s Lockdown Life I catch up with author and urban farmer Jane Griffiths, who lives in a 114-year-old house in Auckland Park, Johannesburg

I met Jane Griffiths at the market at Granger Bay one Saturday. I was excited because it was my first visit to Oranjezicht City Farm Market and I was in a spin of snapping images on my phone. Despite my giddy gushing Jane remained calm: I have always been a big fan and I have one of Jane’s books, given to me as a birthday present by my husband. That was about three years ago and we’ve kept in touch. Now we’re all in lockdown it feels like a good time to catch up properly to chat about life in lockdown and growing food at home.

Keith Knowlton and Jane Griffiths (Photo: Supplied)

By Jane Griffiths

I am 57 years old and I grew up in Pietermaritzburg (aka Sleepy Hollow). I majored in English and African Economic History at UCT. I only became keen on gardening in my early 30s, after spending a year travelling in the USA. I fell in love with the huge variety of chillies there. The only way I could get them was to grow them! And that was the beginning of my love of gardening.

I live in a 114-year-old double storey house in Auckland Park, Johannesburg,  with my husband, Keith Knowlton, two white German Shepherds, Tosca and Manouche, the kit kat sisters, Dixie and Diva, and three hens, Ginger, Vanilla and Nutmeg.

Jane’s Delicious began in 2009 when I published my first book, Jane’s Delicious Garden, based on my experiences of my organic vegetable garden. It was an instant best seller and has now sold more than 27,000 copies. It led to four more best selling books and a whole new direction in my life. I now have an online shop selling my books, my range of 100% natural skincare products (specifically formulated for hard working hands and bodies), seeds, greenhouses and other garden goodies.

Since lockdown started in South Africa, I have seen a huge increase in people interested in growing their own food, which has translated into increased traffic and sales to my online shop. I am also writing a new book (sorry – can’t say what it is yet!) and lockdown has been like a writer’s retreat.

My five favourite green spaces and places in my area are

  • Of course my favourite green space is my own garden! Even before lockdown we worked from home (we also have property rentals and do television production). My garden has been my oasis for years, providing a balance to work.
  • My greenhouse. I know it’s technically in my garden but it is another favourite green place.
  • Braamfontein spruit has been a lifesaver during lockdown. When our favourite Emmarentia Park was closed, we had had to find other places for our daily dog walk. The spruit is beautiful, with fast running water, large established trees and a combination of open spaces and woodland walking.
  • Delta park. Luckily Delta has been open – even if not officially in the early stages of lockdown. This large park with its cascading dams, fields of cosmos and ever-changing vistas is a great place to walk – especially as it is on the side of a hill so you can get some heart and lungs going!
  • Melville Koppies are at the heart of this unique suburb. The koppies are a fabulous spot to walk and drink a toast to the sunset.

A typical day in lockdown looks like this

What gets me through a lockdown day food-wise from my garden At the moment I am harvesting the following from my garden: eggs daily from my three girls; broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, peas, tat soi, mustard, long stem broccoli, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, coriander, watercress, spring onions, sweet potatoes, green onions, four or five different types of kale, gooseberries, spinach, sorrel, Swiss chard, lemons, limes, radishes, parsley, thyme, oregano chives and rosemary. I also have plenty of pantry items that are from the garden: dried beans and peas, dried zucchini and tomatoes, dried turmeric, dried chillies, preserved horseradish, bottled tomatoes, pickled squash and cucumbers, pickled onions, many dried herbs, chilli powders, chutney, marmalade, jams and jellies, popcorn, walnuts, plum cordial, lemonade and liqueurs.

The quiet and lack of pollution in early lockdown was magnificent. You don’t realise what a hum there is all the time from traffic – until it’s not there. I have been lucky in that lockdown has not been a radical change for me.

What makes me happy Being with Keith, pottering in my garden, painting, walking our dogs, cooking a delicious meal, researching and writing, creating gorgeous colour combinations, reading a good book, being warm in a sunny spot on an icy winter’s day, plunging into the wetland pool on a hot summer’s day, having good friends around my table and feeding them, cooking over a fire (especially out in the bush after a day of game viewing), walking on a beach, swimming in the sea with the dogs, travelling anywhere and everywhere with Keith.

Post-lockdown I think many more people are going to be rethinking how they impact the planet and become more aware of just how reliant they are on systems that are beyond their control. This will lead to people wanting to be more self sufficient.

I also think people will (and should) diversify in terms of what work they do. In a vegetable garden it is far more beneficial to plant a wide variety of plants in one bed, rather than monoculture (only one crop). If people can, they should try to avoid ‘monoculture’ work practices, and develop a variety of skills and nurture other interests and ventures. This will make them less reliant on a single source of income.

Jane’s Delicious Garden

Lockdown Life is a series that I launched during lockdown. Catch up with Cape Town Eats founder Pamela McOnie, designer Das Lyon, Cape Town Vegan Garth Tavares, Faithjuice owner Joy-Anne BromilowTwyg founder Jackie May, The Beach Co-op founder Aaniyah Omardien, UCT multimedia student Stella Hertantyo and ecoprinting artist Kristen McClarty from Kommetjie.

#PayitForwardZA

Get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics

Hemporium SA sells sustainable clothing, accessories and cosmetics online. My Hemporium SA bag made from hemp twine by the women at Unit 18 eco-NPO is my favourite and it’s great to be able to support an NPO when buying a tote. Did I mention how much I love my hemp twine tote? Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

Featured

Stop and listen: Green Route

I wrote this poem on 1 August 2020.

I can’t breathe

Slow down, said the earth

I can’t breathe

I’m choking

Slow down

Too hot

Stop, said the earth

That’s enough

You’re killing me

And so we did

Some of us think

Things will go back

To the way they were

But it’s complicated

And inconvenient

It’s also a chance to show

The earth you care

Listen

Slow

Down

Melanie Farrell, 1 August 2020

I also wrote: Every day is women’s day. Women’s Month. Women’s Year. Here are some of the remarkable eco-aware women that I have featured on Green Route this year. Thank you for sharing your story with me and for encouraging me to carry on with Green Route ZA.

#PayitForwardZA

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Eco-printing artist Kristen McClarty captures nature in Kommetjie: Green Route

In this week’s Lockdown Life I catch up with artist Kristen McClarty, who lives in Kommetjie, Cape Town.

I’ve been interested in eco-printing since I discovered it last year, at a workshop held by ecoprinting artist Ira Bekker at Soil for Life in Constantia. Then I found local eco-printing artist Kristen McClarty and started looking for her label, inyoni (little bird) in local shops. Here I catch up with her to find out how lockdown life has been for her in Kommetjie.

By Kristen McClarty, inyoni

I live on the beach front in Kommetjie, a seaside village outside Cape Town. I live with my husband, Andy, daughter Meghan (at UCT) and son Angus (in matric).  And of course Axl – teen staffie and studio assistant.

I grew up in Empangeni in Zululand and went to boarding school from age 12 in Pietermaritzburg, where I also studied B Comm Law. I married Andy a few weeks after my final exams, and then we packed up our worldly possessions and moved to Noordhoek, Cape Town, where he was from. I worked for 13 years in large consulting firms, specialising in Tax Law, resigning in 2010 to concentrate on my family and, as it transpired, my art. I have practised many forms of art and making through my life, and these interests and skills came together in 2019, when I started my textile art brand, inyoni. This brand features eco printed one-off textiles, made up into wearable art and décor items.

When lockdown hit us, my first response was to panic.  I really value my freedom to roam and although it’s silly, that’s what worried me the most. I very quickly realised that the risk to our health and economy was dire, and that enabled me to shift from panic to knuckle down mode.  Work, varsity and school were suddenly at home and we had to learn to work with each other and help each other manage in uncertain times. 

In the few days’ warning we had before lockdown, I did a huge forage for local foliage, which enabled me to eco print flat out for a week or so into lockdown. Since there was no stock going out, I started accumulating a body of work that I hadn’t managed to do before. That progressed naturally to the need for an organised and professional catalogue and then an online studio store, all of which was done during lockdown, from my home. As lockdown progressed, I responded. For instance, I included bed throws in my range when bed linen was considered an essential good. This ability to pivot has enabled my business to continue through lockdown, and allowed me to reposition the brand for the future.

I used routines to get myself through the first bit of lockdown, when I was feeling quite anxious and confined. I took videos of the beach from our home every day, and posted these on Facebook, on my personal page and our community page. This meant a lot to those whose lives normally revolved around the sea and who could no longer get near it. Pretty soon, I had grannies in flats in Joburg and relatives overseas, waiting for their daily dose of Kommetjie and the sea. It gave me some purpose – to share something beautiful every day. 

When I realised we could take any transport to buy our essential goods, I started riding my bike and walking to the local shops, making it last as long as possible and taking the slightly longer route.  This lifted my spirits and I shared the special things I saw along the way.

My favourite places

Best shopping:  Just Foods Deli in Kommetjie – a short ride or walk from my home and purveyors of most of the good things we needed. I am afraid to say I need something every day.

Shopping for certain special things:  Foragers at The Village Hub in Scarborough – an exceptionally beautiful drive along the coast to buy the best tomatoes (for the tomato lovers), fresh bread and biscotti to have with our coffee.

Best drive:  The one from Kommetjie to Scarborough and back.  It was like therapy in the early days.  Sometimes we got there and didn’t really need anything and drove slowly back again.  It took the weight off my lungs.

Best walk: Through Skilpadsvlei, a green belt close to my home, on the way to the shops in Kommetjie. I so love the open space and the fynbos, the paths criss-crossing the grass, little plants coming up. As soon as we could take our dogs on walks, Axl and I spent some good times exploring, taking photos, dawdling.

Best place to get coffee:  Once it was allowed, The Back Door Coffee Club, operating our of Kommetjie Surf shop.

Best place to be:  My own home in a very special place, overlooking Long Beach, Kommetjie.

Lockdown day: Since the whole house was working at home, we quickly got into a routine.  Wake up early, video the beach and send to the world via social media, take a walk, get a coffee, come home for brekkies, settle into the day of eco printing, printmaking, chores, invigilating school tests and then exams, making masks, keeping safe.  Zoom meetings for family birthdays, shopping for my elderly in-laws, plenty of family time that we wouldn’t otherwise have had. Reconnecting.

The world after lockdown: Eventually lockdown will lift but I hope the world won’t be the same.  I am hoping that many of us have used the time to reset and recalibrate and reorganise our lives and priorities, so that we can live in a more sustainable way. With less driving, less stress, more time together. Hopefully we have used this time to change our business to accommodate this new reality.  A greater reliance on e-commerce and less of being in a specific place, a long drive from home.

We have quietly celebrated a 21st, 47th  (me), 50th and we are about to do the same for an 18th.  This year has not been what we expected, but it has been one of learning new ways and slowing down and being together.

Website:  www.inyoniart.com Instagram:  @inyoni_art Facebook:  @inyonitextileart

Lockdown Life is a series that I launched during lockdown. Catch up with Cape Town Eats founder Pamela McOnie, designer Das Lyon, Cape Town Vegan Garth Tavares, Faithjuice owner Joy-Anne BromilowTwyg founder Jackie May, The Beach Co-op founder Aaniyah Omardien and UCT multimedia student Stella Hertantyo.

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy any Cosmic Bazaar products, including Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking and CBD for animals (Waffles the Wonderdog is taking this one), visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Xabiso Vili is still slamming

‘I love an underdog story, so I put much of my energy into helping many an underdog. And love, lots and lots of love, a whole polyamory of love, redefining love, refinding love and its meaning for ourselves.’ – Xabiso Vili, social activist/poet

Pretoria-based poet Xabiso Vili uses his poetry as a form of social activism. By Melanie Farrell.

‘Young people in SA and India are facing similar problems,’ says outspoken Pretoria-based poet and social activist Xabiso Vili, 26.

‘There is a growing problem with leadership, a generation of adults that cling on too tightly to power (unwilling to acknowledge the pivotal role youth play in shaping our reality), and access to university is being limited to a great degree.’

Vili is not your typical poet. ‘I see three major issues facing SA youth right here, right now, starting with femicide,’ he says emphatically.

‘The others are limited access to knowledge institutions and a tendency to rely too heavily on others to solve our problems for us. But we are resilient.’

The tour of seven Indian cities where he collaborated with young creatives is part of a project Vili is working on with a post-doctorate fellow from India exploring cross cultural artistic dynamics.

When he’s not touring a typical week for Vili involves performing at various events in Pretoria – including the State Theatre and TUT. He acts as MC for various poetry sessions – in line with work that he does to activate poetry spaces in and out of universities. 

Vili is also  a resident artist and organiser at venues that were abandoned and are now occupied by various artists.

So how does a ‘boi’ from Pretoria end up touring India, performing as a poet?

‘I was an awkward child, I started writing poetry at the age of 12 and through this I was able to verbalise and externalise what was happening within me,’ says Vili.

‘This allowed me to communicate with my peers and contemporaries. That remains true to this day. Using poetry I am able to confront myself and others around many topics. This becomes my social activism.

In his one-man show ‘Black Boi Be’, Vili explores the ‘intricacies, beauties and horrors of being black and male in these times’.

‘I’m attracted to wonderfully strange, surprisingly beautiful, violently delicate things – I kind of gather them all and keep them in my poems. I never quite know what it’ll be.

‘I love an underdog story, so I put much of my energy into helping many an underdog. And love, lots and lots of love, a whole polyamory of love, redefining love, refinding love and its meaning for ourselves.

‘I spent 10 years in Pretoria before moving to Cape Town where I went to Cedar House School. I arrived there in the last term of 2007 and I think voting (for head boy) happened in the second or third term of 2008. It definitely had a lot to do with my poetry. I put my success with people in general down to that,’ he says.

Vili’s transition from the school environment to the ‘real’ world had its bumps. After three years at Rhodes and another year working as an assistant teacher at Cedar House he left Cape Town and moved back to Pretoria.

‘I was going through a lot at that time and experienced a type of mental breakdown,’ he confesses.

‘Going back to Pretoria was a return to my genesis, to discover where and how my heart beat. Pretoria really opened me up to myself and the poems flowed out from that point.’

Big influences

If I had to choose the major influencers or influences in my life I’d say the first thing is my blackness. It stays the lens from which I view and am viewed.

Then there are my brothers, Nqobile and Sibabalwe ngengcali-siphelele, I am responsible for them and them for me. We live our best lives by supporting and calling each other out. This is how we shape the men we want to become.

My lovers influence me, they school me in tenderness. In empathy. In love. I make too many mistakes, too often and there are things I don’t do and I falter a lot, but I have learned to do these with tenderness and be received in tenderness when they have been done.’

Scribe Rites: Villi toured India through Scribe Rites, a writing and performance workshopping collective, co-founded by Vili along with University of Pretoria postdoctoral fellow Manolagayatri Kumarswamy and Lebo Lebese.

* vilixabiso@gmail.com.

Interview with Xabiso Vili was first published in the Sunday Times Life Style magazine, 4 July 2017.

Watch Xabiso Vili performing On Black Joy

“We turn back time
To stitch our hearts with stars
And this horizon
Is a mass grave
Packed with my kind
Don’t black Jesus owe us a 3rd-day resurrection?” –

Xabiso Zanabo Vili
Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series

Get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics

Hemporium SA sells sustainable clothing, accessories and cosmetics online. My Hemporium SA bag made from hemp twine by the women at Unit 18 eco-NPO is my favourite and it’s great to be able to support an NPO when buying a tote. Did I mention how much I love my hemp twine tote? Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Creative women crochet bags with hemp twine for Hemporium SA at NPO Unit 18: Green Route

Women at the Unit 18 eco-NPO made my hemp twine shopper from Hemporium SA. It’s so great to be able to support an NPO while buying sustainable totes. Did I mention how much I love my tote?

Get 10% off when you shop online at Hemporium SA and use the GRZA discount code. See details below for Ts and Cs

Reduce your environmental impact with reusable (eco-friendly, sustainable) hemp twine totes handmade locally in collaboration with Hanger 18 and the H18 Foundation.

H18 Foundation is a Social Upliftment Project that has helped more than 100 unemployed women from informal settlements move forward into permanent employment or enabled them to return home with a skill to continue earning.

The core objective of H18 Foundation is to empower, enable, upskill and uplift unemployed women from underprivileged backgrounds. These women are provided with a safe and comfortable space, continued supervision and assistance, and ultimately an increased sense of self-worth.

H18 Foundation creates an environmentally sustainable space and ensures all business practices are environmentally sound.

H18 Foundation is a Social Upliftment Project that has helped more than 100 unemployed ladies from informal settlements move forward into permanent employment or enabled them to return home with a skill to continue earning.

The core objective of H18 Foundation is to empower, enable, upskill and uplift unemployed women from underprivileged backgrounds. These women are provided with a safe and comfortable space, continued supervision and assistance, and ultimately an increased sense of self-worth.

H18 Foundation creates an environmentally sustainable space and ensures all business practices are environmentally sound.

Watch this video about H18 “When you empower a woman, you empower her family, community and nation.”

H18 Foundation 

Get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics

Hemporium SA sells sustainable clothing, accessories and cosmetics online. My Hemporium SA bag made from hemp twine by the women at Unit 18 eco-NPO is my favourite and it’s great to be able to support an NPO when buying a tote. Did I mention how much I love my hemp twine tote? Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Fezile Dhlamini has his eyes on an electric future and living like the Jetsons: Green Route

“Breaking barriers and rising above the rest is in my DNA,” says Fezile Dhlamini, 28, founder and CEO of Green Scooter,  an electric scooter company in Johannesburg.

Fezile Dhlamini has just launched ScooterEats: “We have some exciting news as Green Scooter.
We are launching our Fast Food Delivery pilot between #Soweto and #Johannesburg North. This is amazing news as the Township Economy is very influential and there are many missed customers since the pandemic.

“We have partnered with #2SelaiAndAButter who make a South African favourite meal called a #Kota. This is how we transcend the food delivery industry from ICE to EVs with the Clean Motion #Zbee.

Dhlamini, who studied Strategic Corporate Communications at the University of Johannesburg, explains that he became eco-aware in his final year of university.

“Most of our assignments challenged us to think about innovation and what it truly means. It made me think about the environment.”

Fezile’s Green Scooter idea came to him in 2015 when he was on holiday in Richards Bay.

“Driving around Richards Bay, I could see two issues: there was an environmental issue in terms of poor quality of air and a social issue with transport.”

After his holiday Fezile thought about solutions. “I had to focus on what was not done before and I did a lot of research online about what mobility is and, after a few hours, having found the perfect model, Green Scooter was born.

“I’ve always thought outside the box. I want to be both realistic and optimistic that we can build an Orbit City and live like The Jetsons!

“We plan to be the first Electric Vehicle (EV) company in South Africa to scale organically, disrupting the automotive industry as we know it and opening a new portal for opportunities.

“We have been working on setting up shop for a new factory in South Africa, solidifying our plans to manufacture the Zbee locally as well as creating new partnerships in the the industry as well. Other things we also have brewing is our very own IoT software for our vehicles and smartphones which will optimise vehicle usage. 

“I promote eco-conscious living via my social media where I share a lot of information about anything and everything that is out there that I find both relevant and realistic to the ecosystem that I live in.

“There is a lot of information out there and our country has so many people that do not realise that the information that they seek is much closer than they think.

“I share ideas online about how we could create a greener and sustainable environment – there are a number of projects that I am silently working on that I hope to see come to life.

 
“I would like to see a cleaner and smarter South Africa that cedes electoral decision-making as this has shown to slow our growth rate as a nation state. 

“The opportunity exists to develop a proactive policy framework that would shape and drive a just tracnsition for the benefit of all South Africans in a balanced manner – this opportunity needs action now. 

“At Green Scooter we have strategies in place that need collaborative efforts for success which we feel will turn this [Titanic] ship (SA) around to greener pastures,” says Fezile.

Green Scooter Enquiries

Read Kota Conversations in Killarney in Daily Maverick

Watch this Eyewitness News clip about the Soweto Kota Festival

#PayitForwardZA

Get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics

Hemporium SA sells sustainable clothing, accessories and cosmetics online. My Hemporium SA bag made from hemp twine by the women at Unit 18 eco-NPO is my favourite and it’s great to be able to support an NPO when buying a tote. Did I mention how much I love my hemp twine tote? Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Nwabisa Mjoli is dedicated to sustainability at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve: Green Route

This week I chat to Nwabisa Mjoli, Sustainability Officer at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve about her eco-awakening at high school and her green vision for South Africa

Nwabisa Mjoli, 28, says her eco-awareness woke up during a Geography lesson when “the teacher showed us an informative video about climate change”.

“I just knew it was the field I wanted to work in and I went to Rhodes Univeristy and studied Environmental Science and Geography,” says Mjoli.

Mjoli grew up in the small town of Alice, the home of Fort Hare university “attended by Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe and Oliver Tambo”.

“I grew up in small town named Alice where the monumental University of Fort Hare is located, where the likes of Nelson Mandela, Robert Mugabe and Oliver Tambo attended.

I studied at Rhodes University and graduated in a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science & Geography. I then decided further my studies and enrol for a Masters degree in Environmental Science focusing on natural resource management in rural communities of the Eastern Cape., which I then completed in 2015.

I became eco-aware in High School during a Geography lesson where the teacher showed us a very informative video on the effects of climate change. From the moment on, I knew I had study towards this field and equip myself with knowledge to inspire environmental change in my own little way. I became involved in environmental issues and conservation when I was a student at university.

My role as a Sustainability Officer at Grootbos is to retain a community focus but still involve bring environmental changes into household behaviour.

I collect and collate detailed data on the carbon footprint of Grootbos, it’s water footprint, grey water monitoring, energy and waste management are compiled in an extensive sustainability dashboard. I also facilitate an environmental education programme, Dibanisa, in the local schools and facilitate quarterly environmental education workshops focusing on ‘sustainable practices’ with Grootbos staff.

I promote eco-conscious through sharing information with my friends and co-workers as well as through my personal social media accounts.

Future Forecast

What are your 2020 predictions for the future? – where do you see in SA in the next 5, 10, 20 years?

In the next five years, in light of the power outages, I see the majority of South Africans starting to see the value and urgency of incorporating renewable energy resources. A conversation that many conservation organisations and communities have been pushing to the government. 

2020 Green Vision

What’s your green vision? Where would you like to see SA? What’s the way forward for a greener, cleaner more eco-aware SA?

We need more platforms that allow and promote critical nature conservation discussions. Moreover, having more young people’s voices represented in parliament can be a start to inspire environmental changes within our communities.

Read about my stay at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

#PayitForwardZA

Get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics

Hemporium SA sells sustainable clothing, accessories and cosmetics online. My Hemporium SA bag made from hemp twine by the women at Unit 18 eco-NPO is my favourite and it’s great to be able to support an NPO when buying a tote. Did I mention how much I love my hemp twine tote? Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Garth the Cape Town Vegan on slowing down and rekindling creativity: Green Route

In this week’s Lockdown Life I chat to Garth Tavares, AKA The Cape Town Vegan. Illustration by @Wildflowersandwildfires

Lockdown Life is an occasional series that started with Pamela McOnie from Cape Town Eats

How old are you, where did you grow up, what did you study, and when did you become interested in veganism?

I am 37 years young.

I was born in Cape Town but moved to Port Elizabeth when I was 9 years old. I believe PE to be one of the best places to grow up and an even better training ground for the arts: which is the career I am predominantly involved in now.

I studied a BA in Media, Communications, and Culture, which quickly shifted to a BMus when I decided to follow my passion for music instead.

I became interested in veganism after visiting a spiritual card reader who predicted that I would become 100% vegan, at a time when I was eating all meat and no veg!

Where do you live? Do you share your home with anyone? Any pets?

I live with Matt, my partner, in an apartment in Sea Point with a gorgeous view of the ocean. We are both very fortunate to have found this specific home, which really resonated with us. Unfortunately, our landlord has a “no pets” policy. It’s probably a good thing because we’d have at least two dogs and a cat!

When and why did you start Cape Town Vegan and what did you offer pre-lockdown/during lockdown?

I started it as a directory to keep track of the few vegan offerings the Mother City had to offer five years ago. Little did I know it would grow into the vegan monster it has become!

One of the most popular pages on my website is the “Eateries by Suburb” page. I have updated this to reflect all the eateries in and around Cape Town and it’s surroundings that are doing home delivery services.

What has been the effect of lockdown on your working life/Cape Town Vegan life?

It has given me the chance to slow down, take a step back, and reassess what really matters to me at this time. This may sound somewhat cliched, but being permanently “busy” has made me lose a lot of myself. While the lockdown has brought tragedy to virtually every family across South Africa, mine included, I have tried to find the silver lining. I have used the time to be gentle with myself and rekindle some creativity I have lost along the way in the past few years.

Lockdown Life:  Garth’s Five Favourite green spaces and places within 5km

  1. The Sea Point Promenade
  2. The V&A Waterfront, completely uninhabited, spending time with the seals who are all sunbathing.
  3. My couch in my lounge at 4pm when the sun is streaming through the balcony window
  4. Our apartment block’s front garden where we do “steps” to get some exercise!
  5. My favourite place to get lost: in a book, as I’ve been able to travel ANYWHERE with some of the novels I have been reading.

What gets you through a lockdown day food-wise? Portion size! I’m an emotional eater. HAHA! So if the portion size is decent, I’m good!

What do you appreciate most about lockdown? The solitude.

What makes you happy? Making other people happy.

I interviewed Garth for Daily Maverick last year. If you’d like to read the story click here

For Garth’s Top 5 picks of vegan grocery stores, restaurants and cafes in Cape Town see here

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the any products from Cosmic Bazaar, including Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking and CBD for animals (Waffles the Wonderdog is taking this one), visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Shop online for eco-essentials and get 10% off: Green Route

I’ve organised 10% off some of my favourite sustainable brands in Cape Town: Hemporium SA, Cosmic Bazaar, RESTOCK Shop, Lola & Co’s Organics, The Daily Goods Store and INDIKAAP offer 10% off when you use the GRZA discount code at the online checkout.

Shop local and sustainable, take the Green Route ZA

What are my lockdown essentials? Apart from lots of greens, of course. Well, let’s start with lavender oil for its calming, soothing effect. Then there’s CBD oil from Cosmic Bazaar. I take the balanced blend to help keep me balanced and Waffles the Wonderdog has his own blend of CBD oil to keep his tail wagging. In the kitchen there’s our trusty Wonderbag for slow-cooking chickpeas. And the bag lady in me loves shopping for daily essential goods from zero-waste store (online and in Muizenberg) The Daily Goods Store. I’m ditching cosmetics in plastic from my life and only buying local goodies in glass from now on and RESTOCK Shop has that covered.

Cosmic Bazaar: get 10% off when you buy CBD oil from Cosmic Bazaar Use the GRZA discount code at the online checkout to get your discount. The discount applies to any Cosmic Bazaar products, including Wonderbags and zero-waste food. SHOP

Daily Goods Store in Muizenberg and online: get a 10% discount when you use the GRZA discount code at the Daily Goods Store online checkout. SHOP

Lola & Co Organics Get 10% off Lola & Co cosmetics when you use the GRZA discount code at Lola & Co’s online checkout. SHOP

INDIKAAP online: get a 10% discount discount on pickles when you use the GRZA discount code at the online checkout. SHOP

RESTOCK Shop: Emily Buckley is offering RESTOCK shop online customers a 10% discount on purchases. All you need to do is enter the GRZA discount code at the Restock Shop checkout and you will receive your discount. SHOP

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

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Ocean View farmers donate harvest and bread to community feeding schemes: Green Route

The Ocean View Organic Farmers are donating fresh vegetables from their farm and baking bread for vulnerable people in the Ocean View community during South Africa’s lockdown.

The six members of the Ocean View Organic Farmers Cooperative took the decision in the second week of lockdown to donate their harvest and bread baked on their premises to help support the community. The vegetables and bread help to supplement feeding schemes such as Groundbreakers and support the elderly, such as those in the Onse Huisie old age home. They also hand out bread to vulnerable community members.

“We are passionate about our community and the dream for the farm has always been to provide affordable and nutritious organic vegetables for Ocean View and neighbouring suburbs,” says Sophia Grodes, chair of the co-operative.

Twenty interns started an intensive urban farming training programme run by Neighbourhood Farm on the Ocean View site at the secondary school in early 2019. Ten completed the training and in February 2020 when the farm was handed over, six interns took up the challenge of becoming independent urban farmers. Under the auspices of Neighbourhood Farm, these emerging farmers built the farm from scratch – digging beds, putting up infrastructure, making compost and planting seedlings – in 2019.  

Merna Booysen, the co-operative treasurer, noted that “there was nothing but bare ground when we started and today we are growing and distributing about 150 boxes of mixed vegetables a week.”

The Covid-19 lockdown provided the impetus to scale up their baking operations to provide about 360 loaves of week, which the farmers are donating to the vulnerable in the community – with a focus on children and the elderly. “We all grew up in this community,” says Nicoleen Jacobs, “and will do what we can to keep people fed during the lockdown.”

The Ocean View Organic Farmers Cooperative has reached out to the broader community asking for support to cover some of the costs of vegetable and bread donations. Donations continue to come in for this purpose. Lance Meyer, the co-operative’s farm manager, says, “We are grateful for the support from individuals and groups in the south peninsula in helping us continue this initiative.”

The farmers are looking for further support to buy seedlings to extend their current farming operations and ensure that they are able to produce food over the next three months.

For more information about the farm please contact Sophia Grodes on 074 334 5547 or donations can be made to the account details below. Follow them on Facebook: Ocean View Organic Farmers

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Eco-activist Xolani Hlongwa from ID Green Camp Gallery is joining the green dots: Green Route

Meet grassroots activist Xolani Hlongwa from Durban, founder of ID: Green Camp Gallery, who shares his passion for living a greener life.

Xolai Hlongwa, founder of ID: Green Camp Gallery Project. Photo: Supplied

When I was growing up my grandfather kept cows on a farm near Port Shepstone, on the South Coast, says Xolani Hlongwa, founder of ID: Green Camp Gallery Project in Durban’s Glenwood. 

“Staying with him gave me a sense of what life was like on a farm, a connection to the land. I was conflicted about going home to live in the township,” says Hlongwa. 

“I looked around me in the township and I saw environmental injustices,” says Hlongwa, who lives in one room in the property at 246 Umbilo Road and 5 Essex Road, Glenwood.
“I came from a broken home and there was no money for education so I had to leave school with only a Matric certificate. I was expected to go out and get a job working for a white man who would pay me a pitiful salary but I didn’t want to live like that.

“I got onto a drama and dance programme for underprivileged children that was offered by the Playhouse Theatre and from there I got into ballet.

“I thought dance would be my ticket out of the township but it didn’t work out and I ended up giving in to my family and getting a regular job.

“I started working at a Playtex factory but when I reconnected with friends from my old ballet class who were living in a backpackers, planning to get funding to set up a ballet school, I chucked in the job and moved out of home again and into the backpackers.

“The ballet school idea didn’t get off the ground but I was offered accommodation and a job at the backpackers that paid R1,500 a month. I had it made!
“It was the first time I’d had white friends and I met backpackers from all over the world, including a Swedish woman who I got involved with. I lived in Europe (Sweden, Germany) for 10 years and that’s where my eco-conscious ideas came together.

“I studied sustainable development because I was inspired by the way people in Sweden live in harmony with nature.”

Hlongwa had numerous jobs in different areas, including working as an organic chef in a school cooperative in Stockholm that focused on organic lifestyle. 

“I developed a passion for the environment and that was when I came up with my Intelligent Design (ID) concept. Green Camp Gallery Project is the first baby of ID and it provides answers to all our needs in an organic way. I’m creating a replicable model of sustainable living at Green Camp,” says Hlongwa.

“We need to change people’s mindset about the environment in SA: my family doesn’t even understand the difference between organic and GMO seed.”

What have you given up for the environment?
“I have given up a comfortable life in Sweden and my township identity. I don’t have friends in the township any more because of my eco-conscious lifestyle. I live in the ruins of Green Camp and I don’t get to see my children much because they live with their mothers in Sweden (two daughters) and Germany (a son),” says Hlongwa.

Xolani’s natural habitat
Xolani lives and works at Green Camp Gallery Project, an organic and sustainable lifestyle hub that focuses on “urban farming and creativity in all its forms”. 

“We are a distribution point for organic vegetables from local farms and I try to visit these farms to see where our food is coming from,” says Hlongwa.

“Area Based Management is an organisation that I have worked with. It is an eThekwini municipality programme looking at off-grid building and regeneration of the inner city.

“I enjoy visiting Antbear Eco Lodge, an organic permaculture farm in the Drakensberg that we lived on for a while.”

“My eco-crush? To be honest, it’s me, Xolani. The problem with asking me to name someone else as my eco-crush is that if I pick a white person I will be accused of racism. I don’t see colour. I am a human being and that’s how I see everyone: as human beings.”

Sustainable Development Goals

To read the full story in Daily Maverick see Meet your eco-heroes

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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RESTOCK founder Emily focuses on local, natural and sustainable beauty: Green Route

RESTOCK founder Emily Buckley, who moved to Cape Town in July 2019, from the UK, shares her five favourite green spaces and places in South Africa.

I previously worked in sustainability (solar energy) but wasn’t aware of how big the plastic problem was until I came to Cape Town and attended an event about it.

I decided to start living without plastic myself, and when I realised how tricky it was to find plastic free beauty products, I set up RESTOCK in November 2019.

Although RESTOCK was set up with reducing plastic waste in mind, I quickly realised that it didn’t make sense to sell “sustainable” products if they weren’t made locally, and in the case of beauty products, weren’t natural or biodegradable.

We have a shop in Woodstock but due to some staffing challenges, decided to temporarily close two weeks ago and try focusing on online sales instead.

We currently stock almost 300 products from 30 brands, all of which are from SA, and most of which are from Cape Town. 

The only products we sell that aren’t made in RSA (even if the brand is South African):

– bamboo toothbrushes, as you cannot get SA made bamboo toothbrushes today (yet). The brand are looking at bringing manufacturing to SA

– some of our reusable metal razors (we plan to move to SA-made razors only)

– recycled PET plastic shorts – the company are also looking at bringing manufacturing to SA

Our target is 100% South African made products by the end of 2021.

My Green Route

Lion’s Head, Cape Town

Lion’s Head

Such an incredible view of Cape Town and where I often go to clear my head. I even have photos of the view hanging in my flat in London. My boyfriend and I have a tradition of taking a photo up there every year around our anniversary. I thought it would be fun to have a time lapse when we’re older…(or just admire how young we looked).

117Kloof coffee shop

I love the antique furniture and plants everywhere (all of which are for sale). There are so many pretty coffee shops in Cape Town and this is a great example. We do have some amazingly styled places in London but they tend to feel less authentic – like a lot of thought (and money) has gone into it. One of my London friends also lists this one as her favourite – there’s just something special about it!

Stellenberg Gardens, Kenilworth

Stellenberg Gardens in Kenilworth

A lesser known place that’s only open to the public once a year, in spring when all the flowers are blooming. It’s just stunning – my photos don’t do it justice. One of my favourite films as a child was the secret garden, and Stellenberg feels like being in the film. I think everyone in Cape Town should visit at least once!

Emily on Noordhoek beach

Noordhoek feels like someone took all the things I like and put them in one village – horses, dogs, beach, mountains, coffee shops. It’s such a laid back, casual place as well – I love the hippy feel it has to it. And there’s such a friendly community – the last time I walked the dog there by myself I got to know several people en route. Definitely planning to live there one day!

Caracal Lodge, near Nelspruit

Caracal Lodge in Nelspruit

When I met my South African boyfriend, I jokingly asked if he knew anyone with a pet giraffe and was stunned when he said yes. This beautiful place in Mpumalanga has 300 hectares of land with giraffes, zebras, ostriches and more just roaming around – coming from the UK, it doesn’t feel real. They used to have a giraffe who was so friendly, he would pop his head over while the owners were on the balcony and join in. Unfortunately he’s passed away but his shyer“wife” and children are still there. As well as 14 dogs of all shapes and sizes!


RESTOCK is an online sustainable beauty and personal care retailer founded in 2019 and based out of Noordhoek, Cape Town. Our philosophy is based on 3 simple principles.

Our mission? Local Natural Zero-Waste

To disrupt the world of beauty by promoting products that uplift local communities and do not adversely impact our environment.

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

PROMO DISCOUNT WITH RESTOCK SHOP

Emily Buckley is offering RESTOCK shop online customers a 10% discount on purchases. All you need to do is enter the GRZA discount code at the checkout and you will receive your discount.

RESTOCK SHOP

#PayitForwardZA

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Spekboom for carbon offset and a plan with an upcycled pallet garden: Green Route

I’m starting the week on a positive note with a little story about my spekboom garden project.

In October 2019 I decided to start propagating spekboom and create a vertical pallet garden filled with spekboom in pots, to show you-all how easy it is to make spekboom cuttings.

So far, so good, cuttings are growing, but I’m not quite there yet. So here are some photos of spekboom in another pallet garden (outside The Daily Goods Store in Muizenberg).

Succulents in a pallet outside The Daily Goods Store in Muizenberg – spot the spekboom!

I’ve got a lovely spekboom in a big terracotta pot and I’ve taken lots of cuttings. Then I leave them in a shady spot for 4 or 5 days (so that the cutting can ‘seal off’) before leaving them to grow some roots in recycled tin cans. You’ll need some water in there but not a lot, you don’t want the stems going soggy. Alternatively, you can just do a cutting and put it straight into the soil, spekbooms are happy either way.

Spekboom cuttings Photo: Melanie Farrell

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Eco-Warrior Woman Jess Sjouerman from Warrior Youth talks trash: Green Route

Trash Mob (Warrior Youth) Matthew and Jess – staged a trash mob outside Woolies Constantia Village and Checkers in Sea Point in July

Jess Sjouerman is one half of the fledgling eco-activism organisation Warrior Youth, co-founded with her partner, Matthew Furlonger.

Last year Jess and Matt from Cape Town organised a series of ‘trash mob’ events. Shoppers were asked to strip their food naked and the plastic-free food was then put into paper bags supplied by the charming mobbers. The video of the event at Woolies Constantia Village in July has been viewed 39,000 times and continues to spread through social media.

“I’ve scrambled to the top of caramel Sahara dunes, cried my heart out under the northern lights in Norway, driven a rickshaw over 3,000km through India, volunteered as a children’s clown in Syrian refugee camps in Greece and dived beneath backlit shoals of thousands of sardines,” says eco-activist Jess.

Soon after graduating from UCT at 26 with a BMedSci Hons in 2014, Jess walked out on a conventional career and spent the next four years exploring the globe and embarking on a voyage of self-discovery.

“I’ve always felt a deep connection to nature and been overwhelmed by its beauty,” she says.

Image: Jess Sjouerman

“I think much of it came from my Brazilian heritage. My mother was from Rio, so we went to Brazil every year to visit our family.

“My memories of this include the tattoos of hummingbirds, dolphins and panthers on my family members’ bodies; the endless rainforest and trying to find my cousin’s lost skunk.”

During her globetrotting Jess met her partner in eco-activism, Matthew Furlonger, and the couple decided to settle in Cape Town where they are dedicating their time towards setting up Warrior Youth.

I always struggle to fill in the ‘occupation’ block on immigration forms when I travel because apparently ‘explorer’ is not a real job! I’m 26-years-old and spent close to four years traveling and although I graduated with a BMedSci Hons in 2014, I consider the former to be my real education.

Image: Jess Sjouerman

Since 2015, in response to chronic anxiety, answering the question “who am I?” has taken me around the globe to experience the world and taught me different skills like meditation, shiatsu therapy, writing, hitchhiking, diving and yoga. I’ve scrambled to the top of caramel Sahara dunes, cried my heart out under the northern lights in Norway, driven a rickshaw over 3000 km through India, volunteered as a children’s clown in Syrian refugee camps in Greece and dived beneath backlit shoals of thousands of sardines.

I experienced different facets of humanity like kindness and generosity that breathed new life into me and inspired gratitude in every cell of my being, and war-torn vulnerability that stirred passion and urgency to act now. After spending much of my life accepting that it wasn’t possible for me to be happy, experiencing life in this way was the biggest gift.

What have you given up for the environment?

“We do what we can by avoiding plastic and taking reusable bags shopping, recycling, changing over to eco-friendly and natural products, avoiding products that contain ingredients that can be environmentally and socially destructive (like palm oil or GMO foods), composting, cleaning beaches, collecting spring water and staying on top of our water consumption. With that said, we do none of these things perfectly and there’s always room for improvement,” says Sjouerman.

“As a vegan, I’ve given up any animal-derived products, along with plastic, palm oil, GMO foods or chemical products that are harmful to our bodies and the environment.

Jess and Matt from Warrior Youth

“After watching the documentary The True Cost on Netflix, I also realised that the next step in reducing consumption would be to stop supporting fast fashion, so I recently started becoming hyper-aware of everything I buy and the potential costs/benefits of supporting certain businesses.

“I have challenged myself to boycott fashion (especially the fast fashion industry), looking into alternatives like second-hand stores, repairing and repurposing old clothing, supporting local co-operatives and hand-me-downs from family.

“I also invested in reusable cloth pads, a menstrual cup and two small sponges (all made locally) rather than using disposable pads and tampons.”

Jess’s natural habitat

You’ll find Sjouerman at her local Food Lovers Market – “we love that we can buy loose fruit and veggies without blowing our budgets”.

NUDE FOODS in town

“When we eat out we go to The Kind Kitchen in Woodstock for vegan food and for zero-waste shopping we go to Nude Foods in town. My favourite green spaces are hiking in Newlands Forest and on the Kirstenbosch contour path.

“My favourite beaches are Llandudno and Clifton for beach walks and short winter swims.”

My eco-crushes? Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg.”

Your green dream for South Africa? My green dream for South Africa (and the rest of the world) is for us all to be able to identify our connection to nature and the environment and to nurture and act from a deep care for this living, breathing planet that sustains us. Not only would it motivate us to take responsibility for the current crisis, but so many of the problems we see today that stem from a lack of connection (like addiction, depression, anxiety and suicide) would lose their footholds.

See images from Jess’s travels on her website Jessica Sjouerman

This is an extract from a story that I wrote for Daily Maverick. To read the full story see Meet your eco-heroes

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Eco-Warrior Matt Furlonger from Warrior Youth tackles trash: Green Route

The shoppers didn’t really know what hit them. One minute they were happily trundling their food-laden trollies out of Woolies and the next they were caught up in a Trash Mob event.

It was a typical Saturday morning at Constantia Village in Cape Town until the small group of Trash Mob volunteers started cajoling shoppers into stripping the plastic from their food.

This was the first trash mob event organised by the fledgling eco-activism organisation Warrior Youth, founded by Capetonian Matthew Furlonger and his partner Jess Sjouerman.

Stripped “naked”, the plastic-free food was then put into paper bags supplied by the charming mobbers. At the end of the two-hour protest Woolies was presented with a trolley-full of plastic. The video of the event at Constantia Village in July has been viewed 39,000 times and continues to spread through social media.

Eco-activist: Matthew Furlonger, Warrior Youth

“My green dream for this country is for all South Africans to come together through the common goal of becoming as eco-conscious as possible,” says Matthew Furlonger, 29, co-founder (along with partner Jess Sjouerman) of eco-activism organisation Warrior Youth.

The couple have staged several Trash Mob events around Cape Town in recent months to raise awareness around the perils of plastic consumption.

Shortly after graduating from AAA where he studyied marketing communication, Furlonger sailed to Rio for the World Summit for Sustainable Development.

Matt and Jess at a demonstration outside Cape Town parliament

“It was a life-changing experience,” he says. “I made a promise to myself that I would dedicate the rest of my life to the wellbeing of humanity and this planet.” 

He spent a year living off-grid, learnt how to grow his own food and build naturally and in February 2019 he and Sjouerman decided to settle in Cape Town.

Furlonger says: “I’ve been eco-conscious for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had a deep love and fascination for nature – trees, insects, animals, birds – and when I was younger I would consider them all to be my friends.”

“Part of living eco-consciously is to embrace minimalism, trying to shop for food as responsibly as possible (is it in season? Is it imported? Is it  fair trade or grown locally, is it organic? Is it a GMO or does it contain palm oil?)

“I buy as few clothes and products as possible (most of my things are either gifts or hand-me-downs), we catch all our washing machine and shower water to flush the toilet, we catch our dishwashing water and use that to water our plants, I’ve given up showering every day and make a concerted effort to buy as little plastic as possible.

“I also compost and recycle. I’m still learning how to best do all of this though and where else I can reduce or make up for any negative consequences my lifestyle may have.” 

Matt’s green scene

When he isn’t staging Trash Mobs in shopping centres youll find Matt in Kirstenbosch gardens, the Cederberg mountains, the Transkei, Garden Route and the Karoo.

NUDE FOODS

“My favourite places to shop eco-consciously are NUDE FOODS (it is AMAZING), Food Lovers Market is great in terms of plastic-free options, the Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) market for all sorts of responsibly sourced and produced goodies and treats and we try buy organic food boxes from local farmers where possible as well.

“My absolute favourite walk around CT is along the contour paths of Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch which I do as often as possible.” 

My eco-crushes? Definitely John Muir and Henry Thoreau.

To read the full story on Daily Maverick see Meet your eco-heroes

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

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GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Earthchild Project’s Eco-Activist Yola Mgogwana calls for People Change, not Climate Change: Green Route

Yola Mgogwana is passionate about the environment. PHOTO Beautiful News South Africa

My eco-hero is Greta Thunberg, the leader of the #ClimateStrike #FridaysforFuture movement.

Yola Mgogwana, 11, recalls the day she and her friends came across a dog trapped in a plastic bag at a flooded illegal dumpsite.

“We couldn’t reach the dog but it managed to break free by using its claws. That was when I was 10 years old and it frightened me, “ says Yola.

Yola and her friends were collecting plastic at the time and they decided to do more to clean up their immediate environment.

“I live in Site B, Khayelitsha, a place known for being violent and it’s very poor in terms of standard of living,” says Yola.

The eager eco-warriors started volunteering with the Earthchild Project, through their school, Yomelela Primary School in Khayelitsha. The EarthChild Project is a Non-Profit Organisation that integrates environmental education into classrooms.

PHOTO The Earthchild Project, Cape Town

“Now we collect plastics and I give talks at other schools about things like single-use plastic. Our school has started growing organic vegetables and we monitor the school’s water and electricity consumption. We can see that there have been some improvements in our area.

“Every school should make environmental education part of their curriculum. Climate change is a foreign topic to my family – without the environmental club I would be in the dark,” says Yola.

Yola Mgogwana from Earthchild Project. Photo: Beautiful News SA

In March 2019 Yola joined the global climate strikes and marched to Parliament in Cape Town. She addressed the crowd of nearly 2000 fellow learners, appealing for justice and environmental policies to confront global heating.

How did Yola find herself addressing the crowd that day? “My teacher told us that the world eco-warriors class was invited to the #climateStrike #Fridaysforfuture march in Cape Town and I was chosen to do a speech at the march.

Learners from the Earthchild Project enjoyed a morning at Soil for Life in Constantia. PHOTO The Earthchild Project

“When the drought in Cape Town 18 months ago had the city weeks away from ‘Day Zero’ that was the big sign, for me. I realised that we need to change our ways and stand up for nature because our government wants to profit from the environmenet instead of implementing policies that protect it,” she says.

Yola’s green scene

“I am happiest in a vegetable garden, on a soccer field, in a forest, on a farm or lying on the grass.”

This story is part of a feature that originally appeared on Daily Maverick.

Read here: Meet your everyday eco-heroes who walk their talk

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

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GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Sinking my teeth into the new Nourish’d summer menu and meeting Zolani: Green Route

Time to try out the new burger at Nourish’d in Obs with fries on the side and meet Zolani Mahola, one of my sheroes.

Delicious jackfruit burger with sweet potato fries and a boob mug in the background

Words cannot describe the new jackfruit burger at Nourish’d in Obs because it’s called the Jack Me Off Burger. I tried to tell the young ones that I wouldn’t be placing my order like that and skirted around the issue by asking for a jackfruit burger or JMO Burger.

While waiting for my food, who walks in but Zolani Mahola. I tried to look cool but then went up to her and started gushing. When she gave me a hug I think I may have sprouted some tears. We talked and I met Aron Halevi who started Freshlyground and is working with Zolani on her solo career. It was an unexpected and magical encounter, lovely to meet you both (still starstruck).

Let’s get back to the JMO burger. It’s a mouthful and the jackfruit is tender with a hint of barbeque, the bun filled with crunchy cabbage tahini slaw, thinly sliced red onion, gherkins and rocket. On the side there are deliciously crunchy sweet potato fries, vegan aioli and tomato relish. It’s all fresh and delicious. I’m so chuffed to see that the Nourish’d familia has kept the Galaxy Bowl on it’s new summer menu.

What’s in the Galaxy Bowl: Massaged kale, baby spinach, broccoli, edamame beans, purple cabbage, carrot, red pepper, black rice, mango & teriyaki grilled tofu with a sesame miso ginger dressing, sprinkled with sesame and sunflower seeds, spring onion, coriander and mint. I can’t get enough of the miso dressing, it transforms a salad into a thing of deliciousness.

Galaxy Bowl
Congratulations on reaching 20K Insta-followers by 2020 Nourish’d

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

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GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH HEMPORIUM SA – 10%

Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off plus I will donate 5% of the sale to Mama Mickey’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Cleaning up my act with eco-conscious cosmetics in glass: Green Route

I’m cleaning up my act. Looking after my health more, enjoying nature more and exploring green spaces and places with my trusty hemp twine bag by my side. What are you doing to clean up your act? #baglady

Hemporium SA hemp twine bag: Made in collaboration with the H18 Foundation, a local NPO, this sturdy bag is taking pride of place in my bag-lady collection

I’m not buying cosmetics in glass any more. I’m done. And that has opened up a new world of eco-conscious products.

I started with the deodorant in glass from Earth Ant. I could probably make it myself but I’m too lazy and I love the essential oils that they’ve used in the blend. So I rub a bit of it in my armpit every morning and enjoy the scent.

Cosmic Bazaar CBD oil, Earth Ant deodorant, CBD lip balm and old-style packaging from LIN

Next is the lip balm in a small metal container that contains CBD balm from a Cape Town company. I bought it at the Blue Bird Garage Market in Muizenberg on Friday evening when I was meandering around the Old Village taking photos. It’s a blueberry flavour and has a surprising blue colour but it’s easy to use and it smells good.

My CBD oil from Cosmic Bazaar is another everyday favourite. Keeps me on an even keel and helps me to be productive and busy.

Photo shoot at the tiny house on Fynbos Estate

I’m just joking when I say ‘photo shoot’. I was playing around in the tiny house so I added some more things in glass, just for fun. The pear chutney from Babylonstoren is my favourite in the whole wide world and we bought a couple of jars on the way to the tiny house.

If you’d like to buy CBD oil from Cosmic Bazaar or zero-waste goodies from The Daily Goods Store please use the GRZA discount code when you check out at the till. Please let me know what you think of the products.

What’s in my bag? My Hemporium SA hemp twine bag has arrived

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please (or any Cosmic Bazaar products), please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order at the checkout.

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Take a slow Muizenberg meander around this seaside town: Green Route

There’s something about Muizenberg that draws me to its cafes, streets and beach. Join me on a meander

If you check out my Instagram account you’ll see a lot of photos of Muizenberg beach, cafes, the catwalk and the village shops.

Images of Muizies have appeared so often on my ‘feed’ that people have asked whether I live there. Perhaps what appeals is the laid-back surfer culture where you can queue for your coffee at Knead next to a surfer in a wetsuit, still dripping from the ocean.

There’s also the architecture. Old buildings have retained their charm and in the old village a zero-waste store, The Daily Goods Store, is at the heart of the community.

I have discovered a new filter on Instagram and I also received a wide-angle lens for my phone (there is such a thing) so I’ve been snapping away at Muizenberg. Perhaps the Comic Book filter appeals to me because it transforms my photos into artworks, as you shall see.

Take a meander around Muizenberg Village with me and please share your favourite SA villages with me. I’d love to know about the green spaces and places in your ‘hood.

Happy New Year, you-all, and let’s keep growing a greener future by supporting eco-conscious businesses, eco-NPOs and zero-waste stores.

What small (and big) changes are you thinking of making in 2020?

Listening to Greta Thunberg on BBC radio on December 30, 2019 was disheartening. Basically, the scientists say that 2020 is our last chance to make a different to climate change. Last chance.

That means no more time and if we don’t get our act together this year we have a grim future. The raging wildfires in Australia’s Victoria, packed with tourists because it’s the Christmas holidays, have closed down entire towns and scientists agree that they are linked to the climate crisis.

Greta was guest-editing the Radio 4 3-hour show from 6am to 9am and there were stories that weren’t directly linked to climate change but Greta persevered and, overall, it’s not looking good for the planet.

So let’s clean up our act.

What small (and big) changes are you thinking of making in 2020?

Harvest Cafe hang out
Sustainable resolutions from @shopwithgoodintent

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store here. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order.

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Masego Morgan shares her sustainable journey: Green Route

Cape Town-based Masego Morgan, who is studying Visual Communications, uses Instagram to talk about her sustainable journey

‘For ethical, sustainable and local brands. I usually go to the Neighbourgoods Market Cape Town in Woodstock on a Saturday. The food is pretty pricey and the clothes are pricier, but it’s worth it. Sometimes the designers are there and you get to talk to them about their brand and where their products are made. I find most of my investment pieces here.

One of my favourite food places is in Johannesburg, everytime I find myself in the city of gold I go to eat at Free-Food. It’s a small vegan restaurant, where you share tables with strangers creating a sense of community. The food is amazing and free of gluten, meat, dairy products. Their vegan cheese which is made from zucchinis is divine! If you’re lucky you can find it at Wellness Warehouse around the country, but it’s usually sold out… it’s that good.

Fashion Revolution SA I love fashion and experimenting with my style. I started thrifting when I was younger because I could buy more clothes with my monthly allowance at my local thrift store than I could at the usual fast fashion places. It only became a conscious decision about two years ago. I either buy thrifted pieces or invest in pieces from ethical, sustainable and local brands.

I frequently visit TEARS Animal Rescue charity shop and St Luke’s Hospice (Cape Town), they have a few around the city of Cape Town. These places are great if you’re able to go often and rummage through everything. I find that during the winter there is a better selection of clothes. Since the money is going to charities and the clothes have been donated, the prices are really affordable, bordering on steals.

The last of my favourite green spots isn’t a physical place, it’s Instagram. I follow different instagram accounts that are either ethical/sustainable brands or accounts that promote brands which are ethical, like @fash_rev_southafrica, Fashionrev SA to find more ethical brands around SA.’ Read Masego’s suggestions for sustainable swaps in this post:

View this post on Instagram

🌞// SUSTAINABLE SWAPS The last 2 years I’ve made a few swaps to more sustainable/low impact products, I shared a few on my stories during Plastic Free July (saved in the “Low Impact” highlight) and I thought I’d share a few more here. . 🍾 Glass Water Bottle: I use glass water bottles that I got from restaurant when ordering (sparkling) water, usually they don’t reuse them so I just ask the waiter if it’s okay to take them home. I’ve gotten mine at @livebaitza, @thehussargrill and @gorgeousgeorgecpt . Ask the waiter first if the water comes in a glass bottle cause you might just get a plastic bottle which kinda defeats the purpose. I also use to use a vodka bottle but you can get stopped by the police cause it’ll look like you’re drinking in spaces where you’re not meant to 🙃. . 🪒 Safety Razor: I swapped out using disposable razors for a safety razor because the blades can be recycled, I bought mine at Milnertone Market for R50 (there’s a vendor that “specialises” in them). You can find vintage ones for a similar price at antique stores and markets. Otherwise you can get them at stores like @shopzero.sa, @nudefoods.co.za and online @faithfultonature. . 🦷 Toothbrush: After hearing that all the toothbrushes I’ve ever used will outlive me, I decide to change to bamboo since I have the privilege and access to. I’ve been using them for a year now. After getting use to the different taste/texture of bamboo, it’s been chilled. I’ve used my old plastic toothbrushes in multiple ways. I have one that I use to clean my razor, another I use when cleaning my shoes and I’ve seen people use them to brush dirt off mushrooms. You can get bamboo toothbrushes at @shopzero.sa, @nudefoods.co.za and online @faithfultonature. . P.S this is not sponsored, but maybe it should be 😉. . Fit// Sunnies: thrifted at a market in Copenhagen. Bikini: thrifted at St.Luke’s Hospice. . . . [Image Description: 1. Masego, black South African and Japanese, ties her hair up while on the sand dunes, it’s golden hour but it’s windy so she didn’t actually swim. 2. A rushed flat lay of a blue handled safety razor, razors in a box, an old plastic toothbrush, a bamboo toothbrush and a glass water bottle]

A post shared by Masego Morgan|木村志布 (@coconut_cracked) on

Follow Masego on her blog Coconut cracked

PS: Masego shared her Green Route with me way back in 2017 but I’ve got a new story in the pipeline so watch this space.

Masego is doing a giveaway with Your Badge Statement bags, along with her friend Stella Hertantyo, also from Cape Town.

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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It’s a wrap for a conscious Christmas and green gifting: Green Route

Four little gifts wrapped in four little scarves – zero wrapping paper required

I’m having fun with small gifts ‘wrapped’ in some of my scarves – I have a huge stash collected over the years. If anyone wants to ‘keep’ their scarf I’ll explain my attachment to said scarves. Each one has a short story and all were gifts, apart from the orange and green vintage scarf that I bought at the Portobello Market in London many moons ago.

This scarf was a gift from a friend

It’s the first time I’ve wrapped with scarves and I won’t be buying gift wrap again. I can’t pretend that I’m particularly good at the wrapping side of things, called Furoshiki.

In an Instagram post Masego Morgan, who is studying visual communications in Cape Town, explains: “Furoshiki, this is a traditional Japanese way of transporting goods by wrapping them with a square piece of fabric. It’s recently gained a lot of popularity in the west because it’s zero-waste.” @Coconut Cracked

A gift to me from Hemporium SA

When I ordered my hemp twine bag from Hemporium SA they sent me two gifts. A Cosmetology bag made from hemp and an ipad cover, also made from hemp. I love the texture of the hemp fabric used for the cosmetics bag, so soft, similar to cotton but finer.

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living.

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH HEMPORIUM SA – 10%

Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off plus I will donate 5% of the sale to Mama Mickey’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Read the story of Mama Mickey’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

NB: The GRZA discount does not apply if Hemporium SA is offering its own discount.

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Slow food and a slice of country life in Stanford: Green Route

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

We’ve been visiting Stanford for years and I’m drawn to the quiet village life, cafes and locally produced food. One of my favourite farms near Stanford 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.

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.

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.

Fiona Baxter at the Saturday morning market

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.

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.

Brydon Havercroft from Havercroft’s restaurant

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

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.

River walk PHOTO Jennie Chancey

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living.

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH HEMPORIUM SA – 10%

Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off plus I will donate 5% of the sale to Mama Mickey’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Read the story of Mama Mickey’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Chardonnay Deli is local and lekker in Constantia: Green Route

Iced, iced coffee

Chardonnay Deli in Constantia is a favourite local spot for delicious, fresh farm-style food and they cater for vegans, vegetarians and Bantingers (made up word, probably).

Of course my eco-bag and I had to go there so that I could introduce bag to the freshly-baked breads. I joined my eldest son for a Falafel Bowl (aka a Buddha Bowl) that was filled with brown rice, crunchy veg, subtle dressing and five-star crispy falafels.

It was hot so I ordered a chilly iced coffee – not too creamy, not too sweet, plenty of crushed ice. While my son worked on his laptop I took photos and played on Instagram.

5-star Falafel Bowl PHOTO Melanie Farrell
Bag at Chardonnay Deli in Constantia

I think bag enjoyed the visit, and coming home with a loaf of sourdough.

#PayitForwardZA

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Totes entwined with my hemp twine bag: Green Route

Just for fun I’m going to take my hemp twine bag on outings on My Green Route in Cape Town and take photos on the way.

This is my eco-tote’s first visit to Muizenberg beach: I dragged a tired son with me for a mini shopping expedition at Organic Zone in Lakeside. I was chuffed when the cashier helping me commented on my cool bag from Hemporium SA. Does this mean I am cool person? Bag is definitely cooler than me.

Hemp twine bag from Hemporium SA, made by women from the H18 Foundation

Before leaving the beach so that tired son could go home to sleep I stopped to admire the view from the abandoned (water shortage) shower. Wow. Could this be the best view in Cape Town? Ponder possibilities of rigging up small desk/seating arrangement for a tiny office beside the seaside. What do you think?

Shower with a superb sea view

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH HEMPORIUM SA – 10% OFF

Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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H is for Hemporium SA’s hemp twine shopper: Green Route

My Hemporium SA hemp twine shopper is made in collaboration with the H18 Foundation, a local NPO, this sturdy bag is taking pride of place in my bag-lady collection

Hemp twine shopper

Reduce your environmental impact with this reusable twine shopper bag handmade locally from eco-friendly, sustainable hemp in collaboration with Hanger 18 and H18 Foundation.

H18 Foundation is a Social Upliftment Project that has helped more than 100 unemployed women from informal settlements move forward into permanent employment or enabled them to return home with a skill to continue earning.

The core objective of H18 Foundation is to empower, enable, upskill and uplift unemployed women from underprivileged backgrounds. These women are provided with a safe and comfortable space, continued supervision and assistance, and ultimately an increased sense of self-worth.

H18 Foundation creates an environmentally sustainable space and ensures all business practices are environmentally sound.

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please (or any Cosmic Bazaar products), please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order at the checkout.

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I’m totes crazy about reusable shopping bags, big and small: Green Route

My Friday Bag from Janette Bennett

When @jenny.one shared her end-of-year Friday Bags clearance sale I was smitten with this boho hippie sling bag. Janette said I was a flower child and I am. Love the patchworking of different colours and fabrics. And the needlework is so exquisite, zoom in to 👀what I mean. But there’s more, a little bonus bag, denim on one side and… the cutest strawberry print on the other 💚 Can’t believe it was only R220, plus we split the shipping and I collected my bag parcel from PEP stores this morning. Thank you Janette.

I’m just going to share some more photos of the fabulous Friday Bag that arrived and the little ‘bonus bag’.

Old jeans transformed into a tiny tote.
From denim to strawberries fair.

Further proof of my bag-lady tendencies (as if proof is needed): I’m waiting on a Hemporium SA bag, made using hemp twine, for my zero-waste shopping expeditions.

PS I ordered more than the shopper from Hemporium SA but the other items are Christmas presents.

Hemp twine shopper

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH HEMPORIUM SA – 10%

Use the GRZA 10% discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

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Cosmic Bazaar and The Daily Goods Store offer GRZA 10 percent discounts: Green Route

You can relax with some online eco-conscious shopping and save money with the new GRZA discount code.

Canna Oil from Cosmic Bazaar

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please (or any Cosmic Bazaar products), please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order at the checkout.

The Daily Goods Store team

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH THE DAILY GOODS STORE – 10%

Get a 10% discount when you use our GRZA code at The Daily Goods Store‘s online shop. Enter GRZA at the checkout to receive your 10% GRZA discount.

Read about The Daily Goods Store team

Hemporium SA: Reusable tote made from hemp twine

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Bridget’s fabulous trail through Haenertsburg in the Magoebaskloof mountains: Green Route

Hotelier and travel author Bridget Hilton-Barber (from the Ministry of Fabulousness) traces a green-spirited route through Haenertsburg in the Magoebaskloof. Bridget and her brother, Brett, own Kings Walden in Limpopo.

‘Haenertsburg is the village heart of the Magoebaskloof mountains, a gorgeous part of Limpopo fondly referred to by locals as ‘the mountain’.

It’s a thick-mist, high-rainfall kinda place, with vast indigenous forests, rolling grasslands and incredible views. The mountain has long attracted adventurers, artists, healers, travellers and day trippers – and it has an increasingly green spirit.

One of the mountain’s most soulful spots is Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge, which is a 400ha indigenous forest reserve that overlooks the dramatic Kudu River Valley and has been named one of the best eco-lodges in the world. Kurisa Moya is off-the-grid, water wise, sustainably constructed, environmentally friendly and has a string of green accolades.

It’s been selected as one of the ‘clean breaks’ in the Rough Guide to Green Holidays (Jeremy Smith & Richard Hammond); it’s garnered itself a five star ranking with the Top Eco Hotels of the World and is featured in Africa’s Finest – the Continent’s Most Responsible Sustainable Safari Destinations which showcases the best of sub-Saharan Africa’s spots espousing safari sustainability and the spirit of greenness. 

Kurisa Moya restores the soul. Candles and fires replace electricity, birdsong replaces the ring of cell phones; forests replace highways and offices. You can stay in either the lovely old farmhouse with its wraparound veranda, log cabins in the forest, or a charming rustic cottage with panoramic views. This is hiking, biking, birding country. You can go on forest trails, sunset strolls, adventure trails, try your luck at trout fishing or take a guided tour of a nearby village.

Deep in the heart of the Magoebaskloof mountains is another eco-friendly green spot – Zwakala River Retreat. Set on a farm on the banks of the Broederstroom River, Zwakala offers charming off-the-grid, self-catering accommodation in cabins, cottages and a rustic spot made from stone and earth using the Cob sustainable building method. There’s also a camp site alongside the river and for those who prefer fireside and star-studded night skies.

Explore the farm which has sheep and horses who all contribute to the organic herb and veggie gardens. Zwakala has wonderful walking and mountain biking trails, fly fishing and the river is perfect for trout fishing, tubing and swimming and is renowned for its restorative qualities. Jump in and revive your soul.

The river is also the source of the Great Letaba River, and as they say around here, once you have drunk the waters of the Letaba River you will always return. This is certainly the case if you visit their organic craft brewery which is situated higher up on the farm. Zwakala Brewery is set in a charming Afro-chic building and is proudly brewed using the pure mountain water from the river. The name Zwakala means ‘come closer’ in local Sapedi, and the brewery is certainly doing that.

Zwakala Brewery has a tasting room inside, where you can sit alongside the fire on cold and rainy days, and outside tables for glorious weather. There’s also a children’s garden and play area. You can do a brewery tour and see just how much craft, expertise and passion goes into the production of these fine beers. They offer a great beer ‘n burger combo (the vegetarian burgers are divine!) and you can choose from three different kinds of craft beer: Limpopo Lager, Naked Ale and Mountain Weiss. Each batch of beer is handcrafted, nothing unnatural is used in the brewing process – and the most important ingredient is the pure mountain water.’

A few farms away from Zwakala River Retreat, you’ll find the delightful Wegraakbosch Organic Farm, a thoroughly eco-friendly farm with a dairy that produces a range of traditional Swiss cheeses. From cow to curd to cheese, there are no machines involved and for over 20 years now, no fertilisers or herbicides have been used at all on the farm.

The owners created Wegraakbosch after visiting the Wandel Alps on a trip to Switzerland where they were inspired to learn the art of organic cheese making and decided to put it into practice in 1986. You can do a dairy tour and discover the mysteries of cheese making – and then end it all off with a cheese platter and a bottle of wine, overlooking the blue mountains.

And for another delicious organic eating experience – head for the new Mountain Café, which is set on an organic blueberry farm, just off the main Magoebaskloof road. The farm is called Blueberry Heights and grows delicious, healthy blueberries in harmony with nature. No industrial fertilisers are used and the farm makes use of natural composting and vermiculture techniques to improve the vitality of the blueberry bushes. They sell fresh and frozen berries and make a range of blueberry products.

The Mountain Cafe is set in a very sexy renovated old tractor shed with views of a dam and mountains. They serve the best local, seasonal and fresh produce – you can see the chef nip out and pluck fresh herbs from the garden beds outside the café.

Bridget Hilton-Barber is an author and hotelier. Contact Kings Walden Garden Manor Kings Walden

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

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Fabric artist Ira Bekker’s budding eco-printing workshops: Green Route

I learnt how to do eco-printing in a workshop with fabric artist Ira Bekker from UBU Botanicals who talks about her eco journey and shares her favourite green spaces and places.

Jeanne Viall’s leaves and flowers for eco=printing

I spent a slow Saturday morning in the forest at Soil for Life in Constantia, learning how to do botanical printing with leaves with Ira Bekker from UBU Botanicals, organised through Lucy Olden from Earthskills Africa.

What a wonderful morning of woodsmoke, leaf foraging and learning new skills. First we picked leaves to put in a ‘test wrap’ to see how the tannins from the leaves print onto fabric when dipped in iron water and steamed gently for an hour or two. While the testers were steaming we gathered more leaves and Ira showed us how to place them on a bigger piece of fabric, in my case an old, tired white dress that had been languishing in my cupboard.

The excitement of unwrapping our test bundles was great and we were encouraged to see leaf prints transferred onto fabric. My white dress was transformed by the tannins in oak and maple leaves and it was great to disconnect from ‘headspace’ and work with my hands to make something beautiful (to me).

Eco-print bundles ready to be unwrapped PHOTO Ira Bekker

I asked Ira to describe her eco-printing journey and her Green Route for us. Thank you for your beautiful words, Ira 💚

For more information about Ira’s workshop and UBU Botanicals please email lets.reimagine.our.world@gmail.com

Leaves release tannins during steaming. PHOTO Ira Bekker

“I was born in Johannesburg, spent five years on a farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal between two and seven years old after which I moved back to Johannesburg when mining activities at the back of the mountains dried up the springs that supplied farm with water.

“I have always had a love-hate relationship with Johannesburg, yearning for more nature but it was only when I made peace with Johannesburg and what it offered that I was able to move away. Planting a vegetable garden, doing eco-printing, stepping into Shamanic spaces all made living there much more enjoyable over the last four years. 

Ira Bekker from UBU Botanicals

“I came to eco-printing after 14 years as a mosaic artist. As much as I loved mosaic I came to a place where I was very ready for something softer, more pliable and more natural to work with as a medium.

“Clay was and still is my first love but I wanted to keep that for myself as a personal practise. I discovered Pinterest just before the December Holidays in 2013 and my eye was caught amongst so many other visuals by images of eco-printed fabrics and India Flint, the woman who discovered the process.

Placing leaves for eco-printing at the workshop

“I was so drawn to it that I made it my mission to learn all that was available about it at the time, which was not much and not very clear, and use my December holidays to put it into practise. It took a couple of failed attempts for me to get results but once I saw the first prints I was completely hooked. “

“For me personally it provided me with a space of connection and co-creation with Nature at a time when I was very hungry for it. Working with the elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) deepened my shamanic practise and the magic of the process brought deep joy into my life – every bundle I opened was like receiving a precious gift! Engaging with natural dyes and eco-printing also enabled me to personalise my clothing and home wear which gave me much joy after becoming very frustrated with the generic clothing available commercially. 

Jeanne Viall’s dress after eco-printing

On another level, eco-printing brings up conversations around sustainability, up-cycling, awareness around natural resources and commercialism which has always been close to my heart. At a time when so many are becoming aware that we need to move towards being self sufficient, reducing our impact on the land and moving towards self governance, eco-printing and related practices provide us with many solutions and great inspiration for doing things differently – which is why I decided to share this practise through workshops. 

Eco-printing with the elements. PHOTO Ira Bekker

“I see it as a practise rather than skill as so much more is happening here than just the mere imparting of a skill. When we do eco-printing around a fire, working WITH nature, WITH the elements there is a connection that happens, with nature but also to ourselves and to each other on a level that is different from the usual superficial connections.

“It feels like an opening, a deepening a coming into being and into rest in ourselves and the place where we find ourselves in that moment and this, as well as what comes out of the bundles at the end of the day, is what is enormously precious about this practise.

Ira explains eco-printing at the workshop

The most  important green space in my life has been the Melville Koppies in Johannesburg.

This small ridge of preserved nature two blocks away from my house was my and my boys’ life line for 13 years while we lived there. We spent much of our free time exploring this little hill’s nooks and crannies.

From here we also had a view of central Johannesburg as well as an almost 360 view of the suburbs which forms part of what is known as the biggest manmade forest in the world.

Here we saw the seasonal changes down, experienced raging veld fires, witnessed the tiny highveld flowers appear shortly after the first rains of spring. It is also where I found silence, perspective, balance and distance from the business of the city and family life. A haven for my soul. 

Even before this time as a child, our back garden in Linden, Johannesburg was a happy green space for me, especially in summer when the fruit trees offered their soft juiciness up with such abundance.

The greater area were taken up by fruit farms before the land was divided into suburbs with individual plots so we had well a established variety of peach trees, nectarines, plum, apricot and rough skin lemon.

We spent summer holidays gorging ourselves on fresh fruit and surplus fruit was made into jam which were given to friends and lasted us right through the year until the next summer’s abundance. My mother also loved nurturing the garden she planted here and there was always a compost pile in the backyard under the apricot tree’s branches where I spent much of my time as a child, growing plants from cuttings and from seed. 

There have also been two farms in my life.

Riversdale was a farm in Kwazulu-Natal where I lived for five years as a young child.

uMgeni River PHOTO Nikki Brighton, Plant Abundance

It was green and lush and filled with the fragrances of life. There were cows and pigs and chickens all with their very own distinct smells. there was the dairy where cows were still milked by hand filling the air with the sweet richness of raw milk, there was the big vegetable garden where I could pull a turnip from the ground and eat it while the fragrance of soil still clung to it. There was the fragrance of guavas from the trees behind the house and the fresh green fragrance of green mielies still on the plants and all around our small patch of farm there were mountains and valleys and forests yet to explore. 

The other farm was Magetsane, a farm in the Freestate where my Oupa and Ouma lived.

In contrast with the green mildness of Riversdale, this landscape was sparse and dry and vast and had a beauty that seeped into my soul and never let me go. It possessed a stripped down honestly and clarity that I still value over the much intricacies of other, greener landscapes.

On both these farms were great old Eucalyptus trees which stood like sentinels in rows, planted as windbreaks. For me they were majestic and safe and I loved their fragrance as much as their presence. To me they were living beings, even then.

Once I started eco-printing I started walking the streets of my suburb in Johannesburg looking for plants I could use. I gravitated to plants that contain tannins and so initially seeked out mostly rose bushes and Eucalyptus trees of which there was many.

Test bundles steaming on the fire

Visiting these trees and bushes often for leaves I started developing relationships with them and so would ask for permission before I harvested. I became aware of how a old neglected Eucalyptus on the side of a neglected green area started producing fresh new leaves again after I picked from her.

I became tuned into when a tree needs a break from harvesting and never took more than what I needed, often driving from tree to tree all over the adjacent suburbs as well to visit all my trees.

When I discovered that bottlebrush is a very strong dye plant I became aware of it’s natural cycles of blooming and holding back influenced by the temperature and rainfall.

I found Johannesburg gardens and sidewalks to be a treasure trove of variety and loved being able to connect to plants and to nature in this way, in the midst of South Africa’s commercial city. 

And then I came to Cape Town where nature is everywhere and was introduced to the beauty of the fynbos region which is totally next level.

The detail and variety of fynbos just leaves me speechless every time I venture out. The trees and mountains and forests and wildernesses and coastline contained within Cape Town I can never just take for granted and marvel every time I need to go somewhere new at the abundance of nature all around and in-between.

In terms of getting to know the plants for eco-printing I was back to square one, knowing absolutely nothing of these plants and what magic they may hold. I slowly, respectfully ventured into their realm, enjoying and treasuring each new discovery, every new acquaintance and am very clear that one can spend a lifetime with these plants and not even scratch the surface of what they have to offer. 

A neatly-wrapped bundle at UBU Botanicals eoo-printing workshop held at Soil for Life in Constantia

For more information about Ira’s workshop and UBU Botanicals please email lets.reimagine.our.world@gmail.com

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Sarah Walters Potter has a hands-on approach to making over her small space

When potter Sarah Walters found a neglected corner cottage in Newlands Village in Cape Town she set about turning it into her ideal work-from-home/studio/shop space, doing a lot of the renovations herself and upcycling materials she’d gathered over the years.

Ceramicist Sarah Walters is familiar with working and living in the same space. Until recently she was sharing a studio with her father, renowned Franschhoek ceramicist David Walters, and she lived in a house that she built on his expansive Franschhoek property.

‘It was lovely working with him and living on site but it was time to move on,’ says Sarah. ‘I wanted my own place and my parents are looking to scale down. It took me a while to find the right house but this ticks all the boxes. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but it’s getting there.’

Sarah has handcrafted the alterations to her small cottage and every piece, from doors to floors has a story.

‘I learnt how to install the tongue-and-groove myself. It’s not that easy but at least it was just one room!’

The showroom space displays Sarah’s fine porcelain and her studio is next door, with a view of Table Mountain. ‘This is where I want to sit all day,’ she explains, working at my wheel.’

The hands-on artist switches from working with her clay, wiping her hands on a rough cloth, to walk me through the property.

Formerly occupied by a Chinese medicine practitioner, the corner property is a historic building with some unusual architectural features.

‘There was a spiral staircase leading up to the second floor,’ explains Sarah. The spiral staircase is gone, replaced by a modern, clean-lined laminated wooden staircase.

Currently free of any railings or handrails the staircase is poised between the lower level and the loft space. ‘I suppose I should put up a railing but it looks so beautiful without them,’ Sarah says wistfully.

‘A friend called Mario Dieckow (in Kommetjie, Werkstadt), who is originally from East Germany, made it out of laminated pine. He made the whole thing in his workshop, then brought the pieces here. We had to push the long sides into the house through the kitchen window. Then he slotted in the steps and lifted it into place. He is a genius…you should see the kitchen he is currently working on. Wonderful clean lines.’

Follow Sarah Walters Potter to keep up with exhibitions. Love this image for the Vase exhibition. The vase is by Lisa Ringwood.

Sarah’s house story continues in the studio where she points out a slate mantel ‘given to me by a friend’. He’d had it for years and when he offered it to me it was a perfect fit. The dark slate offsets Sarah’s delicate pastel-infused porcelain creations.

My favourite part of Sarah’s house is the kitchen with its rustic feel and the handmade green subway tiles Sarah made on site.

‘Most of what I did was with reclaimed stuff, the only things I  bought new were the kitchen and bathroom taps and the kitchen sink…and the staircase of course.

Here's what Sarah did room by room

Kitchen: new bamboo floor, it was rough concrete, new kitchen unit, new sash window, all from gumtree! I removed a spiral staircase and closed in the ceiling, removed old fireplace, painted black ceilings white and yellow walls white! Put in a doorway

Hallway...removed the entire ceiling, cutting metal I beams, remove old non-functioning chimney, putting in a skylight in the hole! Removed arches and blocked in a doorway. Replaces rotten floorboards.

Living room…took up old rotten floorboards and some floor truces and replaced with Japanese maple tongue and groove, from gumtree…new door out into courtyard, also gumtree. Had all the sash Windows restored, some had plants growing out of them! Put up a drywall. Made my own porcelain lampshades.

Downstairs bathroom, removed bath and basin and made into kiln room, with extractor fan.

Downstairs studio was a very yellow room…had to replaster one of the walls.

First gallery room, opened a double hole in the wall, replaced the floor with same wood as living room, and removed almost a skip full of Chinese medicine.

Replaced the corner window with the gallery front door…which was given to me by a friend. It belonged to his father who owned an antique shop, so he said it would be lucky! Found the stained glass above the door at a friend who was a bit of a hoarder, and he gave it to me! Put in the steps up into the gallery, and found the oak leaf security gate on gumtree…the house is called Oak Cottage!

The slate mantelpiece in the second gallery came from the same guy, swapped it for some lawn…and I have had it for over six years…just pure luck that it fitted!

Upstairs bathroom had an Eastern loo which I removed, halved the room to make the stairway, and put in the loo and the shower.

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living.

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Tour a Karoo permaculture farm with Kathryn from Numbi Valley: Green Route

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

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.

Green Route ZA is the A to Z of eco-conscious living

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Off-grid living in the Langeberg at Cape Nature’s Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve: Green Route

Have you ever watched one of those TV shows about off-grid living and wondered what it would be like? Melanie Farrell eased into off-grid living by checking into one of the eco-cabins at Cape Nature’s Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve in the Langeberg mountains.

To get to Grootvadersbosch you head north up the N2 for a couple of hours, turn left at the sign for Suurbraak and aim for the small village that sits on the banks of the Duivenhoksriver River.

I catch a glimpse of a tantalising café called Paradise in Suurbraak, then push on until the reserve. The new cottages at Bushbuckridge are a kilometre or so from the main entrance and camping area and trickle down a slope, surrounded by forest alive with birdsong.

They look a bit like treehouses with extensions on stilts – these are the braai rooms – kitted out with blinds to keep baboons out.

I know I’ll be accused of being a princess but when I go away I like to be comfortable, no plank-like couches for me.

The hardship levels of off-grid living at Grootvadersbosch are very low – cushions are squishy, and the kitchens and bathrooms are gleaming with marble countertops and all mod-cons. The kitchen I have at home is decidedly lacking in comparison.

Designers working on the conversion of the existing small 32 cottages made the most of the natural environment, creating vistas where you least expect them. One cottage has a superb shower view.

In the spirit of ‘living lightly,’ the 32 cottages that were on the site were whittled down to 11 and many of the building materials were recycled, minimising the buildings’ eco-footprints.

Although the fridge runs off Eskom, the rest of the cottage’s power needs are supplied by solar panels and a solar water geyser.

I’m here for some serious reading and relaxation but on a more active weekend you can choose between two walks, the Bushbuck (10km) and the Grysbok (15km) trails plus two bird hides.

If the bushes of Grootvadersbosch aren’t remote enough for you it’s possible to go off-off-grid in the adjacent Boosmansbos Widerness Area (you’ll need a permit.)

After two days of peace broken only by the sound of Yellow-throated warblers, it’s time to ease back into on-grid life so I stop in Suurbraak and take a seat at Paradise Organic Café where the freshly-picked organic salad I order is alive with fresh figs and pomegranate rubies.

I have plenty of time on the drive back to Cape Town on the N2 to ponder the importance of peace and quiet and time to breathe, ease down a gear or two and take life more slowly.

* Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve is part of the indigenous Afromontane forest in the South-western Cape and it is also a World Heritage Site.

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Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living.

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Karoo silence and a green oasis at Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm near De Rust: Green Route

Find peace and quiet in the Karoo at a permaculture farm near De Rust

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.

My green route starts with the principles of permaculture and Numbi Valley Permaculture Farm near De Rust is a perfect spot to see permaculture in action.

The owners, 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.

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.

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.

The hammock – very import. Photo: Melanie Farrell

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.

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.

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

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The Beach Co-0p is Cleaning up our shores: Green Route

The Beach Co-op has conducted more than 100 beach cleanups, reached more than 6,000 participants, cleaned more than 111 kilometres of coastline and collected more than 6 tons of plastic waste.

Aaniyah Omardien, founder The Beach Co-op

B is for Beach Co-op

Back in 2015, a group of avid surfers and ocean lovers started cleaning the rocky shore at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg, Cape Town of marine debris every new moon. The marine environment is threatened by climate change and pollution, most significantly plastic pollution. This group evolved into the registered non-profit organisation The Beach Co-op with a mission to protect the marine environment.

Misty Cliffs and Scarborough, Cape Town Photo: Melanie Farrell

We work with citizens and corporate companies to raise awareness of the scale of the problem and to shift behaviour, particularly around packaging choices. We work to reduce and eliminate the use of single-use plastics from design and production to consumption and disposal. We use beach cleanups and a citizen science methodology as a collaborative entry point to identify trends in marine pollution, particularly plastic waste. Beach cleanups are conducted with corporate partners and the broader public.

The Beach Co-op, in collaboration with Prof. Peter Ryan of the University of Cape Town’s Percy FitzPatrick Institute, has designed a unique Dirty Dozen methodology that enables participants to log the 12 most commonly found items on the beach during each cleanup. It is a transformative tool in that it gives cleanup participants a clear sense of the problem, and of the primary pollution culprits. It also provides them with the evidence they need to make changes in their own consumption habits, and to call on producers and retailers to look for more sustainable packaging solutions.

Since inception, we have conducted more than 100 beach cleanups, reached more than 6 000 participants, cleaned more than 111 kilometres of coastline and collected more than 6 tons of plastic waste. We are based in Cape Town, but have established strong partnerships in other coastal metropoles – Port Elizabeth, Durban – as well as in Johannesburg to implement cleanups in these locations.

One of our most successful campaigns ran in July 2019. In collaboration with WWF SA and Twyg, we asked our followers to pledge to eliminating one of the top three Dirty Dozen items from their buying patterns. One participant, Jenn Symatt, noted that: “I’m chip mad and decided to stop eating them, it’s been tough but I’ve discovered roasted chickpeas as a substitute and what a win.”

The Beach Co-op believes that behavioural change is driven by awareness, emotional connection and support in implementation. We focus on building an ocean-loving culture that is supported by scientific knowledge and celebrated through music, art and sport. We partner with music festivals, art groups, sporting clubs and schools to engage them in cleanup activities linked to lifestyle activities.

A cleanup participant, Nina Bothma, has this to say about our events:  “What a wonderful organisation, I especially love the Dirty Dozen method that you use and all the wonderful work that you do.”

Jade Bothma, founder of Oceano Reddentes Photo: Supplied by Ocean Pledge

The Beach Co-op

Green Route ZA is the A-Z of eco-conscious living

#PayitForwardZA

Use the GRZA discount code at the Hemporium SA online store checkout and get 10% off plus I will donate 5% of the sale to Mama Mickey’s Soup Kitchen in Khayelitsha. GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA own-brand clothing, accessories and cosmetics online.

Note: GRZA discount applies only to Hemporium SA’s own-brand clothing, cosmetics and accessories, it does not apply to nutritional products like CBD, or to fabric or building materials.

Featured

Joy-Anne Bromilow from Faithjuice shares her juice pathway in and around Noordhoek: Green Route

As the owner of my own eco-business, I’m passionate about using our earth’s bounty without abusing the planet. In my free time, you’ll find me messing about with watercolour paints at home, hanging out with my partner, son or friends, getting a yoga or BalletRIP class in, or enjoying the beautiful beaches close by.

F is for FaithJuice, Noordhoek Farm Village, Cape Town

I have to start the tour with my little business, FaithJuice Raw Juice Bar. FaithJuice is in a tiny wooden Wendy house with a living roof, set in its own vegetable garden.

We grow leafy greens and herbs that go from the garden into our juices. All our water waste can go back into the garden because we use eco-friendly cleaning products. Our fruit and veg pulp is collected by local urban farmers for compost. Our juices and smoothies are served in donated glass jars and our soup is served in compostable bowls. Plus we only offer bamboo straws.

J is for Jardim, a family’s organic garden, Noordhoek

Jardim. A family’s organic garden. This family-run farm which is open to the public on Saturday mornings – pick your own fresh organic produce in the morning and serve up delicious healthy meals all week! Itai, the head gardener, is one of our juice pulp collectors so their greens are grown from our ‘waste’.

B is for Bees in Boots, Noordhoek

Bees in Boots Organic & Fresh Produce operates Friday and Saturday mornings out of a picturesque, if slightly dilapidated, old farm stall on Noordhoek Main Road. The produce is from a number of small urban farmers in the area. It always looks so fresh and delicious!

P is for The Peach Pip Farm Stall at Rodgers

The Peach Pip Farm Stall at Rodgers is a family-run fresh produce spot that has been on the road to Kommetjie for many years. The majority of their produce is farmed organically, although not registered. Their new chill and eat space, Nourish Hut, loved by my son and I, serves good coffee, raw juices and delicious pancakes, with curries and breakfasts also available. Plus there’s free WiFi. The owners are super friendly and love to chat. In summer they have monthly markets with live music.

B is for Beaching at Misty Cliffs, Kommetjie and Scarborough

As I mentioned, beaching is one of my favourite ways to spend time. Of the amazing selection of beaches near my home, MistyCliffs beach small sandy spot between Kommetjie and Scarborough is my first choice. My partner often surfs here while I read, swim and explore the rock pools. The water is very cold and on a hot day it’s as refreshing as an ice-cold beer.”

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please (or any Cosmic Bazaar products), please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order at the checkout.

Featured

Take a virtual green tour of Cape Town with the owner of Nourish’d vegan cafes: Green Route

Natasha Ozora from Nourish’d Cafés and Juice bars in Cape Town shares her green route in Cape Town.

Nourish’d smoothie, Observatory, Cape Town

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, Observatory

Nourish’d is definitely one of my green spots. I started Nourish’d three years 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.

Watch Natasha’s 10 tips to be an eco-warrior

Nourish’d vegan cafe in Observatory, Cape Town

Erf 81 Organic Food Market

Erf 81 Market 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.

GRZA PROMO DISCOUNT WITH COSMIC BAZAAR – 10% OFF

To buy the Canna Oil CBD oil that I’m taking please (or any Cosmic Bazaar products), please visit Cosmic Bazaar’s online store. The GRZA code gives you 10% off your order at the checkout.

#PayitForwardZA