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Siyakhula Organic Farm - 'Growing the Future'

Historically, all Siyakhula initiatives were run from the Siyakhula Organic Farm, situated at the heart of the Grootbos Nature Reserve. This farm, established in 2009, provided skills development in organic agriculture, sustainable animal husbandry and beekeeping to members from the local community, particularly women. Today the farm employs a full-time staff of eight, and is run as a commercial enterprise to provide an income for Foundation projects - all vegetables, herbs, lettuces, fruit, eggs, honey and preserves produced at this farm are sold to the Grootbos lodges. Beyond skills development and food production, the farm functions as research and experimentation space for our larger food security projects, specifically the innovative ‘Green Box’ home garden system.

Food for Sport

Food for Sport is one of our innovative food security projects, managed under the auspices of the Football Foundation. It is a 12 week training programme, bringing together sport, and nutrition and food security to address the general low energy levels amongst the youth, while teaching school children invaluable lessons in organic food production, nutrition and life skills. To learn more click here.

Absa 'Careers, Employability and Enterprise' Project

This project provides skills training workshops to empower an estimated 1783 young people per year to become more employable, self-confident and positive about life. Through career and employability workshops, students learn more about their individual aptitudes and strengths, as well as about different study fields and career options. It uses sport as the vehicle to reach those who have little access to skills development opportunities and resources. The project also offers learnerships and bursaries - giving students in rural communities the hope and tools to succeed in further education and in finding gainful employment.

A select group of budding young entrepreneurs from the project go on to complete a business development programme focused on small enterprises and entrepreneurship. This programme strives to significantly improve students’ lives in areas such as personal agency, communication, teamwork, financial literacy and employment skills and hopes to strengthen their sense of citizenship.

Candle Making Enterprise

Our Siyakhula candle making initiative is an exciting new project which encourages sustainability and enterprise development while simultaneously targeting waste management. After noticing how much candle wax was being disposed of by Grootbos’ Forest and Garden Lodges each day, the Siyakhula programme, in conjunction with the Green Futures team decided that this presented the perfect opportunity to develop a sustainable project benefiting both the reserve and our Foundation. 

With approximately five kilograms of residual wax disposed of by the two Grootbos lodges daily, this project is able to produce 200 candles regularly, which they can then sell back to the lodges. So far, 62 742 candles have been produced. Each candle consists of 50% recycled wax collected from the lodges and 50% new wax, purchased by the Siyakhula programme from a low-cost, wholesale provider.

Fynbos Honey Production

Honey production began at the Growing the Future Organic Farm in 2009 as part of our agriculture and animal husbandry programme. All our hives hold swarms that were caught on Grootbos. We never bring any bees onto our reserve from outside sources. The project has grown to 110 hives. We produce both regular fynbos honey (all year around) as well as single blossom honey (only during the Erica flowering season). The latter is completely unique and made by our resident bees from Erica Irregularis fynbos - an endemic plant species that grows only on Grootbos - nowhere else in the world! The honey is harvested at the time when these Ericas are in bloom.

Grootbos Honey has a wonderful, rich quality and is more bitter than regular fynbos honey (a bit like dark chocolate vs milk chocolate). It is also extremely healthy. The honey is 100% organic (because there are no chemicals or pesticides on our farm or on the reserve), raw and unfiltered.

We have a resident bee-keeper, and during 2016 began training an additional bee-keeper.

All honey used by guests at the two Grootbos Lodges, on the Fynbos Hiking Trail and Fynbos Retreat on Grootbos Private nature reserve is provided by the Growing the Future farm.

A new Siyakhula initiative aims to increase honey production to 3 tonnes over the next 3 years, and then develop a range of personal products (e.g. skincare, bath products) containing our honey and beeswax. This will employ and develop local employees.

Masakhane Community Farm

The Gansbaai Community Farm aims to improve food security (currently the surrounding areas experience 75% food insecurity (2013))  and dietary variety in the greater Gansbaai community by serving as an agricultural support hub.

 It serves as a training space for community members teaching the basics of food production with the aim of self-sustainability and as a support on a path to sustainable livelihoods. The basics of soil improvement techniques, composting, plant care, propagation, harvesting and sustainable agriculture practices are all included in the initial training phase.

 The second phase is where the graduates are allocated allotments, putting into practice the principles they have learnt. Since inception in August 2016 we have trained 45 participants and have approximately 20 regulars tending their allotments.

 In 2017 our aim is to introduce entrepreneurship basics to the training and to link participants up with the Department of Agriculture (DoA) who will assist with support in setting up home food gardens.

 Over and above food production, the hope is to support the link between growing food and selling produce and ultimately value added products. The hope is through this project to create solutions for community members to generate income and as mentioned, work towards a point of sustainable livelihoods.

 Already some participants are selling surplus produce into the community from their allotments.

Water Bottling Project

With the vision of eliminating all plastic from the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, the water bottling plant on the Growing the Futures farm, became operational in November 2014. 

More than 40 000 single use plastic bottles have been replaced per annum. Water is pumped through a limestone acquifer borehole and gravity fed to the bottling plant, where various sizes of still and sparkling water products are bottled for the Grootbos lodges. The water bottling is a key conservation initiative contributing to the Grootbos lodges sustainability and eco destination credentials.