OUTSIDE Working with nature


Makana Enviro-News 266 – for Grocott’s Mail, Fri 5 May 2017

Compiled by Jenny Gon

Working with nature

This is the theme of Edward “Daddy Redbeard” Gaybba and his family’s enterprise ‘Redbeard Permaculture’, located 8km from Grahamstown on the Highlands road.

Having relocated from Johannesburg last year, their aim is to develop their own permaculture demonstration site from scratch, and then to use it as a base from which to teach practical, community-centered, self-sufficiency. Participants in a recent outing organised by the Grahamstown branch of WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) to the 10ha Redbeard Permaculture site were exposed to many examples of how ‘nature does it better than us’ by Edward and his family.

The first stop was a pond that is currently utilised by pigs that are assisting in the sealing of the pond using the age-old technique called ‘gleying’. The pond was excavated by team Redbeard, and the vision is, ultimately, to move the pigs and, when it is full, to add crustaceans and water plants, which will filter the water as well as being edible, and also fish.

The pond will also act as a fire pool and is a prime example of Edward’s philosophy that everything on the farm should have at least three functions.

Team Redbeard has also planted hundreds of trees to generate humus and thereby regenerate the soil. They are, of course, also growing vegetables, fruit and herbs. This is being done in various ways, including the conventional swale (berm and basin) method of permaculture farming, which utilises the maximum water capacity in the soil. All veggie beds are built up of layers of soil/compost/organic material/manure, then covered with cardboard and mulched. Effective micro-organisms are used to increase the vitality of the soil and convert waste into precious nutrients. Of particular relevance to our water crisis is that the planting techniques are designed to utilise water availability to maximum benefit, and the planted beds require minimal watering.

Edward stressed that the principles can be applied in everyone’s back yard, ranging from the smallest balcony to a back garden, all the way to farm-scale operations. He offers to design natural systems according to one’s needs, time and budget. Redbeard Permaculture also offers short courses – including backyard gardening and a Permaculture Design Certificate course. More info: 074 744 7000 or redbeard.permaculture@gmail.com or follow them on Facebook.

Free Online Course in Greening Consumption and Production

The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has announced a six-week ‘Massive Online Open Course’ [MOOC] on Greening Consumption and Production, running from 31 May to 12 July 2017. MOOCs promote accessible education, providing open-access to knowledge via the web, thus enabling large-scale global education.

The upcoming course, organized by NBSAP (National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans), is aimed at policymakers and practitioners working in the area of sustainable consumption and production, and provides an overview of key issues in this field. These include ‘What is green consumption and production?’; ‘Greening key production sectors – agriculture, forestry and fisheries’; ‘Sustainable commodity supply chains’; and ‘Mainstreaming biodiversity into national development planning’. A certificate of completion will be provided by the UNDP, the NBSAP Forum and The Nature Conservancy. Registration is now open. More info: http://nbsapforum.net/#read-thread/2576. More info:  heena.ahmed@undp.org or follow NBSAP Forum on Facebook.

Don’t forget to save those bread tags

Polystyrene Packaging Council’s (PSPC) hugely successful “Bread Tags for Wheelchairs” project assists people in need around the country to get wheelchairs by recycling the high-quality plastic tags. Currently in its eighth year, the project encourages people to collect their tags which are then used to “purchase” wheelchairs for those in need. You can help someone who needs a wheelchair by saving your bread tags and taking them to our local Pick n Pay, and place them in the clear plastic box supplied for this purpose in the entrance to the clothing section [bread tags only, please!]. More info: www.breadtagsforwheelchairs.co.za


Find us Online: www.grocotts.co.za/environews

Contacts for Makana Enviro-News:

Nikki Köhly: n.kohly@ru.ac.za, 046 603 7205 | Tim Bull: timothybull05@aol.com, 076 289 5122 | Jenny Gon: j-gon@intekom.co.za, 046 622 5822 | Nick James: nickjames@intekom.co.za, 082 575 9781 | Philip Machanick: p.machanick@ru.ac.za, 046 603 8635.


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