Indigo Development & Change is currently implementing a WWF Nedbank Green Trust–funded project entitled ‘Sustainable Stewardship with Small-Scale Farmers in the Suid Bokkeveld’, which develops the capacities of small-scale farmers to farm in greater harmony with nature as well as to apply more appropriate and adaptive ways of farming in the context of climate change. On the 14th of July 2018, Indigo kicked off with an introduction workshop for the project participants, and has since offered further training modules and facilitated a very stimulating knowledge exchange visit to organic and sustainable farming enterprises in the Western Cape.

The first training workshop took place on the 3rd of November 2018 at the Indigo Gallery in Nieuwoudtville. On this occasion participants had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with one another and their aspirations, as well as to gain an improved understanding of the project. Together, they created a team contract, establishing their way of working together.

This was followed by a second training workshop, also held in Nieuwoudtville, on the 16th of February 2019. This day allowed for a deeper reflection on the process to date and what had been achieved thus far. The participants discussed living soils and how farmers can contribute towards healthy and productive soils for their farming futures as it is increasingly realised that healthy crops depend on healthy soils, and biodiversity is about more than just plants and animals that live above the ground.

To share lessons and promote learning, knowledge exchange event for the project participants took place at Goedgedacht Farm near Riebeeck Kasteel and at Spier Wine Farm near Stellenbosch.

At Goedgedacht Farm the project participants were hosted by Mikhal Lambert, the manager at the Enviro Solution Centre. During a field visit on the farm, Lambert provided valuable and inspiring insights into sustainable farming, including vegetable production, harvesting water wisely and waste recycling to produce bio-gas and compost through the use of bio-technologies. Project participants also engaged with Goedgedacht Farm staff to better understand its model for sustainable business whilst safeguarding the environment.

The visit to the Spier Wine’s organic farm in Stellenbosch was a real eye-opener in terms of how a large-scale sustainable farming business can achieve success. The project participants were hosted by one of the farmer managers, Niel Sauls. The Spier organic farm provides supplies directly to the customers and to the restaurants at Spier Wine. This visit offered everyone the chance to smell and touch real organic farming, from the free-range chickens (layers and broilers), to the range-fed cattle and even the free-range pigs. All aspects of the business was inspiring. It offered time for real engagements and a discovery of a more on-the-ground farming approach. An important lesson for the project participants was how the farm focuses on having the animals and soil work together to sustain the entire environment, and that when processes take longer, they usually deliver even better than expected results.

Indigo Development & Change is looking forward to learning more from the ‘Sustainable Stewardship with Small-Scale Farmers in the Suid Bokkeveld’, project and to develop climate-wise approaches when it comes to farming in the Suid Bokkeveld. The capacity building and training, as well as opportunities to visit and engage with farming practices and businesses in the landscape, will assist in the successful implementation of the ‘Sustainable Stewardship with Small-Scale Farmers in the Suid Bokkeveld’ project.

For more information please contact Shannon Parring on shannon@indigo-dc.org

 

 

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