Today I was lucky enough to visit Broadleaze Organic Farm. It is the only certified organic farm in KwaZulu Natal. We can actually see it from the verandah of Mick and Debbie's house. It is so close to town, Pieermaritzburg, but once you get into their driveway, you feel like you are miles from civilization.
The farm is large - over 170 hectares ( about 430 acres) with about 10-15 acres under vegetable cultivation and a lot more in organic hay. The farm had been fallow for more than 40 years when Rob and Nora bought it, which made it easier to get certified. It is a huge project but they are both passionate about what they are doing.
Of course, we went for tea, stopping on the way to get a melk tert (a South African tart) to contribute. We went for a lovely walk around the farm (we were huffing and puffing as we had done a long walk in the morning, and it was very warm, although it is mid-winter) and Rob talked about their cultivation and growing methods. The nursery is under netting to keep the birds and animals (reed buck, monkeys, birds) out and there are geese and rabbits that provide organic fertilizer. Then we walked out to see the growing fields - rows and rows of lettuce and spinach (it's that time of year) - all on strict crop rotation schedules. They have 10 helpers but in order to grow the farm, they will need more trained people, which is a bit of an issue with the local population.
Back at the farm house, we were treated to tea in the lounge, looking out over the fields to our local table mountain. The air was very hazy as we are having a lot of veld (grass) fires as it is so dry. But the view is spectacular.
What a pleasure to see people so involved and passionate about what they do. I wish them lots of luck and know they will succeed, simply because of that passion.