How it all began?
Early 2020 the concept of a food forest was well established in my head, since watching the first YouTube video from James Prigioni in September 2019.
By the time I arrived in SA I knew a lot about permaculture. I kept reading through blog posts and gardening books - I was certain this can work.
i continuously googled one edible crop after another (I still do this today) and looked for it’s particular tricks to increase it’s yield and wanted to know if it’s possible to grow it in South Africa.
More and more crops were perfectly suitable for the climate in Plettenberg Bay.
But with the lodge running on full steam and high occupancy throughout season 2019/20 there was only little support among staff and management to firmly believe we also need a food forest and grow food at the hotel at the end of a long season.
Except Amos, who believed in the idea the moment I told him about in September 2019. He took every discussion we had about plants serious and kept planting seeds and buying plants.
As a longterm employee he was at that time much needed for guests service and late night shifts and a conflict arose because I asked him to “grow more food” while he had to follow instructions from Adé to also “serve food” to guests at the same time through season. We were really busy. In fact we had our most successful Season until February ever at the lodge in 2020.
Guests loved the view and the food . We maybe had 5% of what we served from the garden only but we started.
Guests loved to hear “the peppers are homegrown” or “this is also directly from our garden” in December 2019 when we realised how happy our guests were when we served them food that we grew ourselves.
After a long season of baking in Germany we finally had time to spend with our kids in the first half of 2020.
- then COVID came -
i arrived at the lodge in February 2020 when SA had 4 cases of COVID in the country. I came to assist in this crisis that is coming like a tsunami and check on the changing Forest Garden.
With Ramaphosa announcing LockdownSA just after my 40th birthday my plans changed and I stayed throughout the first LockdownSA in March and April of 2020 alone in the house.
I was at the same time excited to finally apply some of my greenhorn gardening knowledge and also feeling overwhelmed from standing in the middle of a canvas that still has to be painted. An unused forest part on the property. I was also anxious from the knowledge about excess losses on the horizon and livelihoods of our employees.
Wild thoughts like - Plan B - just bake more gingerbread also we’re running through my head and - when will I see my wife and kids again ? Flights are cancelled.
One of the first harvests I witnessed was on march 23rd 2020. By that time we had already closed the accommodation for guests due to the corona virus pandemic.
not much but some green peppers, arugula and herbs (basil, oregano)
During LockdownSA there was time, lots of time to do gardening. With more research about Covid it was clear this will go on for months if not two years.
Harvest in August 2020