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The visit of the three students from Schumacher College is coming to a close and it is good to reflect on all that they have achieved during their stay.
Megan and Charles have set Emil Weder School in Genadendal on the first steps to becoming an Eco-School. Most of the requirements for this status have now been met and the rest will be completed before they leave.
The Eco-Crew of nine pupils from the school has been meeting regularly and enjoying many experiences under the guidance of Megan and Charles including a trip to Hermanus to collect shark eggs, learning about the medicinal herbs of the fynbos, supporting GTT’s work with younger children during the school holidays, cooking vegetarian food, learning how to plan events and to raise funding for them. They composed an Eco-Rap which they performed at a recent night market and which will be reprised at the Trash to Treasure Festival on August 4th.
Individuals and organisations have stepped forward to work with the group once the students have left. Many more youngsters from Emil Weder now want to join and the group will expand and develop within the framework of the Emil Weder eco-school. Megan, who is based in Cape Town, will return once a month to ensure the on-going success of the project.
Joseph, who is doing his Masters in waste management in small communities, has written an article in this paper about the Trash to Treasure Festival taking place on August 4th. Already the Greyton dumpsite is beginning to look a little tidier and the chipping business is starting to become sustainable as chippings are sold and the income used to pay the two men who are stacking and preparing the wood for the chipper.
With the transformation of the dump into a festival venue, Joseph is helping us to see how waste can be a source of wealth when managed efficiently. It is a challenge to change a mindset in such a short time but he has risen to the task with enthusiasm, focus and commitment.
Charles is working with TWK to devise a lesson plan for their 2030 Strategy and Elgin Learning Foundation is keen to develop the plastic bottle brick project as a means of building homes from non-recyclable trash. The Foundation is also supporting plans to create household and community vegetable gardens in our more vulnerable communities where food security is becoming a serious issue.
As a result of the students’ activities within the community, Greyton Transition Town is becoming ever more inclusive with projects in Genadendal, Boesmanskloof, Heuwelkroon and some starting up in Bereaville and Vorsterkraal.
We are beginning to see the ethos of transition being adopted by businesses, organisations and individuals throughout Greyton. It’s not about a central organisation, although it is necessary to have a core, but about transition becoming intrinsic in everybody’s lives. We can no longer afford to be the throwaway, consumer led society that we have always been. It’s time for change!
In last month’s Sentinel, due to space constraints, contact numbers for garden waste removals were referred to but not included. These are now listed again below:
1. Greyton Compost. Victor Everson 071 321 7292
2. Greyton Organics: Alex Camillieri 079 841 3111
3. Country Gardens (Monique Hess): 082 424 5035
4. S & J Plot Clearing (Sakkie Groenewald): 076 614 6370
5. Greyton Property Management Services (Nicky Vernon): 082 558 7752
6. Pin-Cushion Landscaping & Irrigation (Hennie Loubser): 072 532 6005
We are working hard to find a business model that will allow both Greyton and Genadendal to profit from waste management. We are receiving expert advice from financiers, with a connection to Greyton, on Community Owned Enterprises. These provide for the whole community to buy into, as shareholders, the management of facilities such as renewable energy sources, sustainable building and waste management. We will show that ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ and, with the support of TWK and our expert volunteers, we are producing a business plan to present to the banks
There is no reason why dumps should be unsightly either. As we move closer to zero waste, our dump sites can become waste processing sites with most of the work hidden behind new edible forests and wildlife-friendly wetlands.
We are currently setting up a small garden waste processing facility at the dump. With support from Cape Nature, the chipper is coming once a week to convert all the branches and tree prunings to chips. These are for sale at R100 a bakkie load or R10 a large bag. A load for a trailer costs R200. Chips can also be delivered for an additional R50. Please support this new business and help us make it viable.
For further info please contact Nicky Vernon on 082 558 7752.
Thanks to some volunteers who have great knowledge about plants and trees we are closer to planting our first trees for the edible forest and the transformation of our dump to a place of beauty that we all want to visit.
Felicity Jarvis gave the students a detailed grounding about the history of this area which led to consultation with the Red Cross, Emil Weder School, Dr Isaac Balie, The Conservation Society, TWK, Elgin Learning Foundation and Department of Agriculture.
As a result, the focus of transition has broadened to encompass Genadendal, specifically The Mission Station and Emil Weder High School.
At Emil Weder, a group of around ten students have formed a focus group, working with Megan and Charles to uncover not only the challenges they face but the strengths and talents they have to help them realise their full potential.
Joseph is focusing on waste management, particularly up-cycling and alternative building methods using waste, which have been very successful in his home town of Santa Fe and communities throughout the world.
He is preparing a major event on the 4th August at…. …..the dumpsite. A series of workshops will take place during the afternoon aimed at revealing the astonishing treasure trove that lies within what we know as a rubbish dump. Waste will be turned into crafts, furniture and buildings which will grow as the landfill diminishes. The workshops will be followed by a night market and live music.
During the school holidays children are participating in an art and dance event called ‘Together’ devised by Deon Esterhuizen which will culminate in a performance at the DRC Hall on Saturday 21st July from 12.30.
Stroll along after the market and support the children. Soup will be on sale. From 1.30 we will be holding a general meeting of the Greyton Transition Town with a slide show to reveal the great work being done by the Schumacher students. All welcome!
A third event will take place on Friday 13th July at the Greyton Lodge. This is a fundraising event for Transition. Join us for supper cooked by Nan Walker at a pop-up restaurant and an evening of music with guitarists Jane Gaisford and Steve Newman. Tickets will cost R95 for the meal and the hat will be passed round for the performers. Tickets are available from the Tourism Office, from the Greyton Lodge and from Nicky Vernon who can be contacted on 082 558 7752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Camillieri moved to Greyton from Cape Town only six months ago but he has already spotted an opportunity to work here thanks to the transition initiative.
As a keen member of GTT’s Incredible Edible task team, he has played an active role in establishing the fresh produce exchange, buy and sell table outside Via’s every Wednesday. Through his involvement, he realised that people are very keen to buy organic, locally grown vegetables.
‘What is so crazy’, he says, ‘ is that beautiful organic vegetables are grown in the fertile fields between Greyton and Genandendal, then most are bought by an outside agency which collects them, carries them 100 kms away where they are packaged in styrofoam and clingwrap. Then some of that produce finds its way back to Greyton, a few days older, having been handled by several people and wrapped in non-recyclable packaging that ends up on our dump. The customer pays extra for the privilege of buying something grown in our own backyard and that money goes out of the village’.
Alex has been visiting local growers, from residents with vegetable gardens to smallholders and farmers, including the Genadendal Farmers’ co-operative, to find out what they can supply. He has visited village shops and restaurants and talked to villagers to find out what they want.
Now he is putting supply and demand together under the banner of his new business, Greyton Organics.
‘I see part of my job is to encourage local growers’, he adds. ‘If we can support them to grow organic produce for the local market we can soon meet demand from shops, restaurants and villagers’.
Everybody wins in this enterprise. Because no transport or packaging has to be added to costs, Alex can afford to pay local farmers a reasonable price whilst still keeping the cost of the organic produce on a par with imported, packaged, non-organic produce. At the same time he makes money so the business is sustainable.
As if all that isn’t enough work, Alex has also rented a field at the Blue Hippo where he is growing his own supply of organic vegetables. Neat furrows have been planted, by hand, with thousands of seeds. Small sprouts of onion, cabbage, spinach, carrots, artichokes and much more are beginning to appear.
He is currently talking to an investor who may help him purchase a second hand bakkie, vital to the growth of his business. We wish him every success in his endeavour. Alex is happy to be contacted for further information. His number is 079 841 3111.
Our Town Manager, Jeremy Prins, has written an article in this paper about waste. He, together with the Conservation Society and Greyton Transition Town, has been working hard to try to find solutions to the ever-growing mountain of waste that threatens to overwhelm our village.
The problem is – we throw our waste away. But where is ‘away’? Think about it.
There is no ‘away’. Every single item of waste that we have generated over the last ten years is still here. In this village.
That plastic bag from Woolworth’s that you carried home in 2001 – still here. That styrofoam pack holding broccoli covered in clingwrap that you bought from Pick ‘n Pay in 1999 – still here. All our rubbish, thousands and thousands of tons of waste – it’s all still here.
Thanks to the arrival of Boetie Bantom’s business, some of this waste is now going out of the village. On Wednesdays, Boetie collects anything that can be recycled. Plenty of information has been circulated about what can and cannot be recycled but it is worth repeating here.
The Greyton dump is now no longer open for household waste or building rubble. This must all be taken to Genandenal where facilities and employment opportunities are being created to deal with the rubbish that we just cannot deal with ourselves in an environmentally friendly manner.
The Greyton dump is now open only for garden waste. Signposts are being erected and an area has been marked out where we can take our garden waste.
Cape Nature Conservation has just started bringing in a chipper on a weekly basis and it will reduce your garden waste to chips which you are welcome to use for your new compost pile or as mulch in your garden. A small charge will be levied to cover costs.
GREYTON TRANSITION TOWN
The first transition town night market was held on 16th December at The Ladle in conjunction with Via’s. Over two hundred people enjoyed home-cooked food, local crafts and live music. The night market is to become a regular monthly event.
The transition town group has been meeting for several months and has implemented a number of on-going projects, with several more in the pipeline. We encourage more members (no fee involved) to help take these forward. An AGM will be held in late January, which will be open to all, at which the constitution will be approved and a management committee formed.
The Wednesday exchange table at Via’s is working well, with lots of exchanging and buying of excess produce from garden and kitchen. A regular gardening huddle takes place for those who want to share or gain experience on everything to do with gardens and, in particular, veggie growing. To reduce our carbon footprint, a blackboard outside Via’s is available for people to ask for, or offer, lifts to Caledon and further afield, and to share other services and information.
GTT is seeking to join forces with other organisations and with individuals throughout the community to pool resources, experience and ideas, with a focus on growing our own fruit and vegetables and becoming more self-sufficient, as a village, in the face of rising fuel and food costs. A major project we would like to tackle next year is the beautification of the area around the dump site, helping to build up the current recycling schemes and developing a composting area. The plastic bag free Greyton initiative will be launched early in the new year. A monthly environmental/sustainability themed movie evening is also being planned.
If you would like to join, be put on the mailing list or take part in any of the regular events, please contact Nicky Vernon on 082 558 7752 or email@example.com
A group of around twenty people met last Saturday in Greyton to take forward the idea of a ‘transition town’, at a time when an international conference on ‘solidarity economy’ is taking place in Johannesburg under the auspices of the Co-operative and Policy Centre.
A Transition Initiative (which could be a town, village, university or island etc) is a locally based, community-led response to the pressures of climate change, shrinking supplies of cheap energy and, increasingly, economic contraction.
“When we talk about ‘Transition’ we’re referring to something that’s already happening in well over a thousand highly diverse communities across the world – from towns in Australia to neighbourhoods in Portugal, from cities in Brazil to rural communities in Slovenia, from urban locations in Britain to islands off the coast of Canada,” states Rob Hopkins, instigator of the transition town initiative.
“Whether we like it or not, over the next decade or two, we’ll be transitioning to a lower energy future – essential because of climate change and inevitable because of diminishing supplies of fossil fuels (particularly oil). There are a variety of possible outcomes depending on whether we stick our heads in the sand or whether we start working for a future that we want.”
The idea of a transition town begins when a group comes together, recognising that:
Here in Greyton the first initiative of the group will be a bring, buy or swop fresh produce stall which will operate initially once a week from a point in Main Road. The first pilot run will take place on Wednesday November 2nd from 10 – 12 noon on the side stoep of Via’s. Everybody is welcome to bring what surplus they have, to swop or sell vegetables, fruit or seeds. It will also act as a meeting point for those wanting to pass on information, find out how to start a veggie garden, etc. Please contact Nicky Vernon as below if you want to take part.
Nicky recently travelled to the UK and spent some time with Rob Hopkins and his colleagues learning about transition and receiving valuable information and guidance from them about starting transition in Greyton. At the annual transition conference there, she met people from transition initiatives all over the world including an inspiring collective that is transforming areas of Brazil. If you would like to know more, or are keen to become involved, please contact her on 082 558 7752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greyton Info Exchange page on Facebook is being developed as a communications tool for news and information about Transition projects and programmes. If you are a Facebook user please check it out by typing ‘Greyton Info Exchange’ into the search box. The more people join the page the more we can help and support each other, not only through Transition. For those who don’t use Facebook, a Transition Website is being developed in the near future.