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green on the local scene

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-05-08 09:47

There’s a lot that’s happening on the green local scene that is incredibly positive and emphasises just how South Africans are quick to ‘catch on’ when it comes to greening their businesses and their lifestyles.

Craig Jacobs’ Fundudzi Free range clothing label – the range with a “clear moral conscience, committed to sustainability and social activism” is a range of clothing made from organic fabrics like bamboo, soy and corn. Whilst many of you may have heard of the Fundudzi range – we’ve blogged about it before – you can now buy Fundudzi online at adam and eve! All of Craig’s clothes are created and produced locally.

Woolies wins international responsible retailer of the year. Go on then, shoot me, but I am super impressed with Woolworths - corporate retailer though they might be - for setting international standards. Woolworths received recognition in Barcelona last month for its commitment to responsible business practices in their good business journey, beating the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco. Last year’s winner was Marks and Spencer. Their good business journey is aimed at sustainable growth that includes accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing the environmental focus and addressing climate change. [nextcustomer] [woollies good business journey]

Eat smart organics – first certified organic kitchen in the country. Eat smart organics - an all women, majority black shareholding company prepares and packages home-cooked organic meals – available at a selected Checkers stores, Wellness Warehouse, and certain health stores in the western cape. Not only has the team come up with a totally unique concept, but their kitchen and their meals are certified organic. The team source all of their produce locally and use seasonal vegetables. They’ve literally ‘made a meal of it’ and their signature ‘smart stack’ meals not only set organic standards, but the business also has a very big heart – they provide their nutritious meals to autistic children at two or three facilities in the Cape. [cape times]

Vital going green. Vital health foods is doing its bit at going green, focussing on using resources more economically and allowing minimal wastage. Their focus has already saved them 20 000 litres of water a month by recycling water in the manufacturing process. They use heat generated from their air compressors to heat their water systems – the first company in the Western Cape to buy the machine that enables this - and they have installed another system that reduces the amount of electricity their factory uses. They’re also seriously investigating getting all of their products into recyclable packaging. [vital is going green]

slow food stellenbosch style

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2008-04-07 12:03

If you haven’t already visited the new Stellenbosch fresh goods market then do so! We had a ball there on Saturday morning. Located on the Dorpstreet square in Bosman’s Crossing trading village - the historical entrance into Stellenbosch under the slopes of the Onderpappegaaiberg on the Plankenberg river – we were unintentionally highjacked by a strategically placed, and rather enormous sign which led us to a wine estate breakfast market en route, a minor detour that, had we had the time, was apparently worth the diversion. But I digress…

The fresh goods market is an authentic slow food market...

don't miss...

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-04-01 10:02

The screening of Manufactured Landscapes – a feature documentary by Jennifer Baichwal. Winner of Best Documentary – 2007 Genie Awards and nominated for Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival last year, Manufactured Landscapes is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of “manufactured landscapes”—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s materials and debris. The film follows him through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. Don’t miss the screening tonight - 7pm for 7.30pm in Jo'burg.

SA blog Awards 2008. The final awards ceremony is tomorrow, 2 April, at UCT Tennis Club in Cape Town. If you’re planning to attend, you need to head over to the SA Blog Awards Wiki and put your name on a list. New categories for this year include: Best Group Blog - Best Website Promoting Blogging - Best Sports blog - Best Green/Environmental Blog - Best Blog about Design - Best African Language Blog (other than english) - Best Social Upliftment Blog - Most Controversial Blog - Best Travel blog - Best Undiscovered Blog - Best Post about the SA Blog Awards.

Vote for Eat In awards. The foodie awards are back. Eat In awards recognise the small independent producers who demonstrate integrity, care for the environment, passion and innovation. This is your chance to nominate and promote the organic sector in SA. Vote now

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holidaying in the keisie valley

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-03-26 10:30

We managed to take a few days off over Easter and headed off to the Keisie Valley, just outside Montague, to stay on Vredenshoogte Farm in a beautiful little cottage called Dew Cottage.

I again find myself in the disagreeable predicament of whether or not to share my newest found hideaway with everyone and risk losing it. But I’ll offset my reservations against the untold joy it will bring to those of you who head off to this secluded and rustic part of the world.

Vredenshoogte organic farm, nestled at the foot of the Burgers Pass, is comparatively small - only 9.5 hectares - that sweep in an unimposing curve up a hillside, surrounded by the foothills of the Langeberg. To say that the views here are beautiful is possibly the understatement of the year. The cottage spills out onto a wooden deck, complete with hammock and gentle breezes that gives one breathtaking views of

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greening it up – mon 17 mar 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2008-03-17 11:35

Look out for pro GM stories like this. An obvious threat to biotech multinationals like Monsanto is the organic movement that continues to sweep the world in direct opposition to the aggressive patent protected seed industry. So it isn’t unusual to see unremitting press in GM’s favour, but not in the vein of this latest article, which advocates that the future of food may depend on an unlikely marriage between organic farmers and genetic engineering (!). [] The suggestion that Bt is a ‘favourite’ insecticide of organic farmers is what had me sitting up. There may be no long-term studies of health effects to date, but there is literature about Btk and its negative effects on both humans and the environment that is more than convincing [nosprayzone] [quick facts about Bt] The Chinese cotton project sited in the article as so ‘hugely successful’ is a complete contradiction to a similar Bt cotton case in India that was an abysmal failure [] Notice too, how the article underhandedly undermines organic farming, suggesting it has ‘serious limitations’ – most of which refer to - you got it - pests and diseases… [Monsanto & GM in SA]

Netcare and Community Hospital Group stand accused of price fixing. In a fine example of how consumers in SA are being duped, a plea bargain submitted by the two accused to the Competition Tribunal would have allowed them to pay the tribunal R6-million for fixing prices of services rendered to the public by the CHG in 2003. This was after Netcare bought a 43.8 percent stake in CHG and adopted tariffs used by the largest private hospital group. The settlement offer has been refused. [IOL]

Tips for Tasneem. In her blog – sustainable home 4 all, Minister Tasneem Essop is encouraging all to submit their brilliant ideas on how to save electricity. If you can overlook being referred to as a 'citizen' this is a great opportunity. [sustainablehome4all]

organic cottoning on

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2008-01-18 16:49

When Woolworths first launched their Organic Cotton clothing range a few years ago some garments contained a mere 5% organic cotton and was the cause of much snickering, especially amongst those who viewed the whole organic clothing trend with scepticism. Internationally, eco-friendly clothing has taken off and Woolworths has, erm, obviously cottoned on to this. They may soon have the last laugh when their investment into a huge project to grow organic cotton in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo province pays off as up until now they've had to import their cotton from Uganda and India.

ComMark, a non profit organisation, is partnering with Woolworths, Cotton SA, Organic Exchange, Da Gama Textiles and the Agricultural Research Council in a developmental project to grow organic cotton on 30 hectares and they are already hoping to harvest 30 tons by May this year.

The pilot project will see small-scale farmers...

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holidaying in jamaka

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-01-04 08:54

I do know how to spell Jamaica – we didn’t, after copious articles to the contrary, fly halfway across the world to yet another sunny clime. Jamaka is, in fact, one of those finds about which one feels a little reticent at sharing! If I tell you, you’re bound to head out there – bam goes my getaway!

But that would be most perverse of me, as this idyllic organic farm tucked away in the Cederberg deserves more than a mention – although I must warn those of you addicted to smsing that there is absolutely nada cell phone reception (a certain member of our family hiked to the top of a mountain in search thereof!)

Jamaka lies about 2.5 hours’ drive from Cape Town on the banks of the Rondegat River, just off the Niewoudts Pass - roughly halfway between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam.

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greening it up – thurs 03 jan 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-01-03 11:20

‘Organic’ loses its edge . The USDA has apparently given the green light to a proposal that allows 38 new non-organic ingredients in products that bear the USDA organic seal (and before you assume that this applies only to America, certain of our supermarkets import these products too!) Is the term organic losing its credibility? [treehugger]

Organic food produced using toxic chemicals? According to an article in the Daily Mail, ‘thousands of tons’ of organic food sold in British shops during 2007 were produced using toxic chemicals. Actually it boils down to an increase in the use of copper fungicide during summer and autumn by potato farmers – a pesticide approved by the Soil Association. Hype or compelling investigative journalism? Considering that Syngenta, one of the largest agribusiness companies, (read conventional pesticides and fertilisers) is the principal antagonist in the article, the motivation is highly suspect. [dailymail]

New clean air campaign in Germany Berlin, Cologne and Hanover have introduced a ban on ‘dirty’(old cars without a proper catalytic converter or diesel soot filter) cars plying their inner cities in an attempt to limit air pollution. [dw-world]

Clandestine chromium plant in Tshwane . According to reports, there is a chromium-processing plant operating illegally & covertly from an important catchment area providing water to half the Tshwane area. [IOL]

Chemicals blamed for fish poisoning in Dbn harbour. Illegal chemical dumping in the Umbilo Canal has been sited as the reason for the large numbers of dead fish in Durban’s harbour. Dead fish have lined the walls of the canal since the last week of December. [united press] [the independent on Sat]

Taking matters into our own hands. Could 2008 be the year the people of the world elect their own green leaders? Take your pick from
15 green politicians via grist and 15 green religious leaders.

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green christmas markets

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2007-12-05 10:35

As would be expected for this time of year there are some great markets on the go, which makes it easier to avoid inhumane shopping malls and put your hard-earned rands to more effective use in the local economy.

Cape Town Talent Exchange Market Days
Actually if you join the Community Exchange System you can avoid spending hard earned Rands entirely! The Community Exchange System has it's own currency called Talents which you can use to buy or sell your own goods or services. There is always something interesting to be found at the CES markets and you'll no doubt meet some interesting people too. The whole idea behind the CES is that it is community based rather than debt based (where private bankers are made wealthier at everyone else's expense.)

At the last market I got to enjoy some awesome home-made lemonade and took away some delicious butternut chutney as well as adding to my vinyl collection. There were traders selling some great clothing and gifts and there was a self-published booklet of poems (printed on recycled paper) that I have to go back for.

There are two markets coming up this Sat, 8th Dec - one in Kalk Bay and one in Khayelitsha. And then there is another on Sat 15th Dec at the Novalis Ubuntu Centre in Wynberg.

Prince Albert Christmas Market
The weekly market in Prince Albert has a history that dates back to 1855 when the then Governor of the Cape, Sir George Grey, gave permission to hold a market in the town.

If you're lucky enough to be anywhere in the vicinity of Prince Albert on Saturday 15th then don't miss their Christmas Market. There will be organically grown fruit and vegetables, homemade jams, chutneys and preserves, and Christmas cakes and cookies. Also lots of handmade products and gifts.

Bryanston Organic Market

It's now Christmas Night Market season at that stalwart of organic markets,

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proof that organic really is better

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-10-29 11:30

The biggest study into organic food has found that it is more nutritious than ordinary produce – finally there is actually proof that organic is better for you!

A £12m four-year project set in the heart of the UK on a 725 acre farm (actually, it’s sandwiched between Hadrian’s Wall and the A69 to Newcastle upon Tyne) has been conducting a rather unique experiment. Growing side by side is organic and conventional produce that has allowed scientists to carry out rigorous tests on the alternative foods to answer the question: is buying organic actually better for you?

The study found that organic fruit and vegetables contained

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