After leaving Long Valley Farm and Robertson today I was filled with enthusiasm. There are endless opportunities for sustainable activities there, like a green ocean, referring to the blue ocean strategy of finding something unique, focusing on environmental sustainability.
As the concept of agriculture is in a phase of changing, farms can become spaces which can host and facilitate different activities than only growing plants. With lots of space the Long Valley Farm would be a perfect space for organisations strategic meetings, team building, conferences or hosting courses in different topics such as permaculture. Permaculture is a design philosophy for holistic gardening and farming, taking in environmental resilience into one of its core principles also leveraging more produce and less work for value.
One obstacle hindering more permaculture farming at Long Valley Farm at this time is that many local fields are covered with imported grass meant for livestock. The Long Valley Farm does not work with animals and it is very hard to get rid of it. Throughout the work at the farm so far, grounds have proven to be inhibited by prehistorical artifacts, such as stone-carved arrowheads. I thought this could be a good incentive to invite archeologists and students to excavate the grounds – removing the grass! This would in turn facilitate the work toward more permaculture at the Long Valley Farm.
Permaculture have not become very known and present in South Africa yet but there are very good examples over the country with great people who know about it. Long Valley Farm really felt like a place that strives toward permaculture but still has a way to go toward it. There are also good possibilities to grow hemp or bamboo for handcrafts such as clothes and the new “superfood” Moringa.
The Long Valley Farm could also be a sanctuary for young aspiring leaders from challenged neighborhoods closeby in Robertson. It offers a supportive community and conditions to do personal development at the grounds with the great company but also solitude.