GTT initiates projects and also encourages and supports other organisations and individuals with their own eco-projects. We are available to help, share ideas, invigorate, promote, mentor and inspire change.
Some of our projects are listed below.
Clean Green Greyton
Clean Green Greyton has two main areas of focus:
Renewable Energy. Greyton and Genadendal are fortunate in having skilled professionals living in the villages who are working on a feasibility study to establish sources of renewable energy for Greyton and Genadendal, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and working towards a long term goal of cheaper, renewable, green energy for all residents. Plans have been drawn up and costed to place an extensive solar panel system on the roof of the Emil Weder High School in Genadendal. GTT is currently awaiting new protocols from Eskom which may allow such systems to feed electricity into the grid, without which we will have difficulty raising the funding for the project.
Waste Management. GTT has been working with TWK Municipality and Cape Nature to restore the dump site, where much progress has been made in setting up a viable garden waste management business. Chipping, composting and biochar production transforms garden waste into products that can be sold back to the village, supporting the two men working at the site. With funding from the Industrial Development Corporation, 430 metres of fencing has been placed around this part of the dump site which has been renamed Greyton Green Park. An outdoor classroom has been built there by local school children, guided by a professional building team, using eco-bricks – plastic bottles stuffed with non-recyclable waste.
Greyton has also launched its intention to become the first town in South Africa to phase out plastic bags. It is the single use plastic shopping bag that is the main target and GTT is being assisted in this quest by Hayley McLellan Campaign Director of the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. An alternative long life bag is being made locally from South African manufactured parachute material which is being sold by local retailers for R10 a bag. This initiative has created four full-time jobs and one part-time.
Another major waste management programme is the roll out of four swopshops in the area – in Genadendal, Greyton, Caledon and Riviersonderend, funded by the Industrial Development Corporation and TWK Municipality. Once a week or fortnight, in each town, children and adults bring clean and dry recyclable waste to a swopshop where they can exchange it for essentials such as food, clothing, toiletries and stationery. Local recycling entrepreneurs, Boetie Bantom in Greyton, Genadendal and Caledon, and Edwina Tshinga in Riviersonderend, remove the waste, helping their businesses to become more viable. Around 450 adults and children are being supported by the swop shops and they save around 500 – 700 kgs of recyclable waste from going to landfill, every week. In June 2017 this programme was expanded to provide 20 women using the swop shops with training to set up their own businesses, selling products from home. The programme was sponsored by FoodForward SA, which provides the food items for the swop shops and Greyton EcoLodge, and delivered by Learn to Earn.
Incredible Edible Greyton
Fresh, locally grown, organically produced vegetables are now available in Greyton at the two weekly markets on Saturdays and Wednesdays as well as at Pure Cafe and OK supermarket throughout the week. Some local restaurants support the scheme by sourcing most of their vegetables locally. The Wednesday GTT market which operates from outside Pure Cafe between 10 and 12 welcomes produce from all six local school gardens, as well as the Genadendal Farmer’s co-operative, Boesmanskloof garden farmers and keen gardeners. The table is usually groaning under the weight of affordable, picked-that-morning vegetables!
In April 2016 a Food Security Manager was appointed, Dominique Lynott, and the Foschini Group stepped forward in November 2016 to sponsor her salary for a year. Dominique works alongside GTT environmental educator, Marshall Rinquest, to support the school gardens and ensure a constant supply of fresh, organically grown vegetables all year round so that the school feeding schemes can provide our most vulnerable children with excellent nutrition. Furthermore, in July 2017 GTT appointed a consultant executive chef who is teaching the school cooks how to create well balanced meals using the produce available in their gardens. In March 2017, with sponsorship from the Foschini Group, GTT extended the programme to three farm schools in the area.
Change begins from within and it is the children who are most open to change. Sadly, for many children, this makes them vulnerable to negative influences. Greyton Transition Town, through both its environmental and humane education programmes, is creating ‘gangs’ that children want to belong to above all other. Humane education is critical to our work because it fosters the empathy that all children develop when young but which is so often lost, particularly in areas of disadvantage and need. Through learning to love and care for animals, children develop a sense of self-worth from where they are able to meet the world, their friends, family, teachers and wider community, with strength and compassion. We are very grateful to Andrew Rowan, CEO of Humane Society International, for sponsoring and supporting GTT’s humane education programme which is now being implemented in all six schools.
In 2016, monitoring and evaluation systems were put in place by a senior voluntary adviser with a Masters in Social Work, Debs Bloom, together with Prof. Dr. Patricia Lemu of Sao Paolo University and Dr Michelle Morters of Cambridge University. This will enable GTT to fully assess the impact of the programme on levels of compassion and subsequent changes in behaviour of children. Initial findings indicate significant drops in bullying and other negative behaviours and improved grades and performance. GTT has two full time staff on the programme, Zynoe Patience, who teaches the programme in schools and supports teachers to do the same, and Tarryn Van Wyk, a former Veterinary Assistant, who supports the children in the wider community.
Tarryn’s appointment has been timely as children have been encountering problems within their families and the community when the ideals they are being taught in the programme are not being practiced outside school. The children see dogs being kept on short chains, having no access to shelter or adequate nutrition and, worse, farm animals being kept in intolerable conditions. Tarryn works alongside Greyton Animal Welfare Society, the Dept of Agriculture State Vets Dept and the SPCA to support local animal owners and has initiated a programme of workshops to help backyard stock holders to offer a better life to their farm animals.
The Chairman, Nicola Vernon, has opened a farm animal sanctuary at her farm just outside Greyton, and this adds a significant resource to the humane education programme.
Air Miles Forest
An Air Miles Forest is being planted from trees donated by residents of Greyton who contribute one tree if they make a domestic flight or two if they travel overseas. Indigenous and fruit trees are being planted throughout Greyton, starting at the Green Park where, in 2015, national charity Greenpop arrived with 40 volunteers and 50 trees and helped 60 local volunteers, mainly children, to launch Greyton’s fruit tree forest. Since then Greenpop have visited twice more and over 350 trees have been planted including 50 indigenous trees donated to Greyton Conservation Society by Greenpop and GTT.
Environmental Education Programme
Much of Greyton Transition Town’s work is now centred on the environmental education programme which seeks to restore the connection between our local children and the magnificent environment in which we are privileged to live. Eco-crews are now running in all six local schools with around 350 children taking part in fortnightly activities. Children who show outstanding commitment to the programme are awarded flagship adventures which have included: a weekend at the Cape Leopard Trust camp in the Cedarberg, tree planting festivals with Greenpop at the Platbos ancient milkwood forest in Gansbaai, a Penguin Waddle at Cape Point and trips to Zambia to reforest severely depleted parts of that country.
Community Sustainable Housing Programme
GTT is very excited to be working on a ground-breaking plan to create an eco-village comprising mixed use housing: sub-economic, budget homes and standard homes – creating integration through design and community building. Initial plans have been drawn up by students from Han University in the Netherlands, working with local architects Luis Ferriera da Silva, Lorrence Keyser and Sarah Patterson together with community representatives. An Abode, which is an alternative to shack living, has been donated by Kikkoman, the soy sauce producers, and this is on display and in use as a guest residence at the EcoLodge. GTT has been offered a further 50 abodes via the Abode Foundation in the USA and the TV programme Extreme Makeover. Land and permissions are currently being negotiated with TWK Municipality. Residents will be involved in the design and build of their homes which will be created within a self sufficient infrastructure that will include biomass digesters and grey water systems, renewable energy, shared vegetable gardens and natural building.
Greyton Transition Town is a flagship project for the Western Cape 110% Green Initiative established by Premier Helen Zille. As such GTT is invited to network, learn from and share ideas with other eco-projects throughout the Western Cape. In 2016 GTT won three out of seven categories in the national Eco-Logic environmental awards, an unprecedented achievement.
It is essential to communicate the inconvenient truth about the state of our planet and encourage, inspire and motivate people to step forward and become Agents of Change. A regular programme of films and presentations by guest speakerssupports this quest. In March 2014, two GTT board members funded their own visit to take part in a Climate Reality Conference led by former USA Deputy President Al Gore. Marshall Rinquest and Nicola Vernon are now qualified to make Climate Reality presentations.