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SOW THE SEEDS OF CHANGE

How to volunteer, learn skills and experience adventure in one package.

Many volunteer programs take a lot of your energy, give little in return, and you only get to really experience the region after completing your work program. We offer a learning environment as part of the workday and have structured the program around a four day work week with a three day weekend....leaving time to adventure and explore all that the Garden Route has to offer!

We do things differently

During your stay with us, you will get a solid grounding in an introduction to permaculture. We will explore the ethics and principles through hands-on practical implementation, design, lectures, games, discussion, videos, group work, guest lectures and field trips. 

Contact us for more info

Integrated learning through permaculture forming connections with the natural environment and community

Program Details

Your learning will be integrated with the process of developing and implementing the permaculture design and systems on the farm, learning from other inspiring projects, connections with the natural environment in which you find yourself, and feedback into the local community. You will leave with skills that empower you to become more self-sufficient and that give you the confidence to apply pro-active, sustainable solutions in your home life, business, natural environment, school and/or community. 

Topics covered will include: 

  • patterns in nature
  • design principles
  • ecological thinking
  • solutions-based thinking
  • effective ways of how to grow your own nutrient dense, organic food
  • vegetable garden design and bed layout
  • food forests
  • mineral cycles
  • soil science
  • capturing and storing energy
  • compost making
  • effective microorganisms
  • nursery design and day to day management
  • earthworm farming
  • seed saving
  • propagation (from seeds and cuttings)
  • energy efficiency
  • waste management
  • earth building
  • animals within the system
  • small scale community co-operative management
  • growing community permaculture groups
  • retrofitting existing systems
  • greywater systems

The Location

The farm is located within the within the recently declared Cape Floristic biodiversity hotspot region along the southern coast of the country, just outside Plettenberg Bay. The heart of the Cape's Garden Route and adventure capital of South Africa. You will also spend some time exploring and helping rehabilitate the unique area in and around the Robberg Coastal Corridor(RCC). According to the RCC Environmental Law Guidelines, the coastal area between Robberg Nature Reserve and the Garden Route National Park has exceptional natural beauty and hosts threatened and endangered plant species found nowhere else in the world.This area has been identified as a critical biodiversity area by the Garden Route Initiative. The habitat within the area needs protection to ensure that the biodiversity and ecosystem remains intact and functional. 

Accommodation

All volunteers are hosted in a house on the farm. Each room accommodates a maximum of two persons (ideal for couples) and each person has a lockable cupbaord. The house has four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and an open plan kitchen, dining room and lounge area. There is DSTV and free Internet available. Volunteers are also welcome to use the swimming pool. The volunteer house is also fully serviced, including laundry services.

The Cost

The cost for the program amounts to USD 45 (EUR 38) per day, for a total cost of USD 315 (EUR 266) per week for the four week program and includes accommodation, meals, cleaning & laundry, DSTV, and Internet. 

The Duration

The duration is four weeks and starts on a Monday.

 

We are able to accommodate volunteers who would like to stay for longer or shorter periods ... please ask us

The Dates

Our first FIVE courses for 2018 are scheduled to run as follows: 

START DATE

END DATE

Monday 29 Jan.  Thursday 22 Feb..
Monday 26 Feb.  Thursday 22 Mar'
Monday 26 Mar. Thursday 19 Apr
Monday 23 Apr Thursday 17 May
Monday 21 May Thursday 14 Jun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We still have spaces available on these dates, and will be running courses throughout the year in 2018 so please Contact us for more info

 

Please contact us

Tel: +27 44 533 4109   Mobile: +27 83 415 8071    Email: info@ecovolunteers.co.za

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Joy Harrow

Joy1I moved to Plett when I was 6 years old, and experienced a beautiful childhood, where I developed a deep love and connection with the natural environment. This was instilled in me by my parents, who always took us on great outdoor adventures. I am now mother to an incredible 6 year old daughter. I also run a small swim school and am an integrated massage therapist and holistic body worker.
When Michelle and Chris shared their ideas about the eco program they have developed, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. I love sharing any knowledge I have on permaculture, and gaining new knowledge from teachers and students alike. I believe that permaculture is a viable option to help uplift quality of life for all and to create a healthy and thriving society and environment. Permaculture teaching facilitates a space for everyone to step into their role, wherever their particular strengths and talents may be, and encourages students towards solutions based thinking. What I love about permaculture, is that it shows us how much knowledge we already have, and it teaches us how to work together to affect positive, lasting change.

Since studying Business Science at UCT in Cape Town, I have lived in some pretty interesting and diverse places... from working in a mental health centre in Brixton Road in London, straight into running a private nature reserve in the middle of nowhere in the Kouebokkeveld for two years, where there was no electricity, cell phone reception, landlines were down 70% of the time, and the nearest town was 60km away. So I equally love being around a buzz and lots of people and action, and retreating into the solitude and quiet of myself and the natural world.
I have a widespread range of interests, and I find permaculture, being so diverse and expansive, satisfies different parts of myself, on an intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional and social aspect.

In 2004, when I was searching for answers to the problems we face as humanity, and looking for solutions within my own life on this level, I found the world of permaculture. In 2005, I arrived for a visit on a beautiful farm in the Klein Karoo, Berg-en-Dal, an off the grid eco village started in 1999, designed on and guided by permaculture principles and ethics. I became a member of the KKSDPP (Klein Karoo Sustainable Drylands Permaculture Project) and moved to the farm. I completed my first PDC (Permaculture Design Course) in 2005 and embued in a permaculture lifestyle, I began to understand how you can use permaculture design to create positive change. I have developed a good permaculture skill set through the years, involved in many courses run on the farm, under the guidance of great teachers, Tahir Cooper and Alex Kruger. I have also been involved in community and eco village development; the design and implementation of the farm gardens, food forests, natural buildings & permaculture systems; making natural products, and running a small produce selling business; working with volunteers, and running and setting up my own site.
Permaculture has exposed me to a wealth of incredibly dedicated individuals and organisations who are actively taking responsibility for their role in the bigger picture. This inspires me immensely. Living in a permaculture community has taught me to constantly be looking at new ways in which I can implement these principles in my life and share this with my community.

Since being based back in the Garden Route, my passion has been to spread the word of permaculture, and act as a connector between the permaculture community, through running national events (integrating permaculture, music and arts), and organising small local community permaculture groups and skills share gatherings... Our collective mission through this is to share information and skills, and gather to connect, network, consolidate, celebrate and redesign the way in which we interact with each other and the natural world of which we are a part of... connecting people who are practising permaculture, as well as new comers, connecting teachers with students and community projects with volunteers and providing spaces for people seeking knowledge, to tap into.

Michele Upton

MichelePiceco volunteers

My hometown is Cape Town in South Africa where I was raised and educated.  I matriculated in 1986 and applied for BSC in nursing at The University of Cape Town.  2 years in I realised that this was not my chosen path so I left, packed my backs and opted to explore the world. I loved my time abroad, it opened my eyes and broadened my horizons. 

On my return to South Africa some 3 years later, I was offered an opportunity to work as a PA to the general manager of a small hotel outside of Cape Town.  Within 2 years, I was managing the hotel, restaurant and bar.  I spent the following 10 years within the hospitality industry. 

Chris and I met in 1997 and married 3 years later.  We relocated to Plettenberg Bay in 2002 with two toddlers in tow. Having taken a sabbatical from work, for a couple of years, I decided to set up my own business to enable me to work from home.  In 2002 Stretch Tents were relatively unknown and I was the first person to introduce them to the Southern Cape.  My business grew in leaps in bounds so that by 2008 I brought on a partner and we started franchising the Maverick Stretch Tent model.  By 2015 and now with four children, Chris and  I decided that it would be best for all parties that I sell my share to my partner who had relocated to Johannesburg 18 months earlier.

Our decision to embark on our Ecovolunteer programme was born out of a strong desire to make a real change in the way we live and learn and with our combined skill sets, we knew we could create a programme that is both practical and meaningful, combined with experiences that are unique and challenging. 

Chris Upton

ChrisPic 1eco volunteers I was born in Johannesburg and grew up and studied in Cape Town. I have been involved in the Tourism industry in Southern Africa for over 27 years. 

I was involved in setting up and establishing bungy jump and bridge swing operations at the Gourits River Bridge near Mosselbay, Victoria Falls Bridge bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia, and the Bloukrans bungy in Tsitsikamma. During this time I was also involved in lodge ownership and management. 

My wife and I bought Stoneridge farm so that we had space for our four children to grow up close to nature. 

As custodians of the land, I believe it is our responsibility to protect the natural environment and live in harmony with the earth. These are important lessons the next generation needs to embrace. This has led us to apply permaculture principles to our farm and to become involved in the rehabilitation and conservation of the conservancy of which our farm is a part. We are also working with Cape Nature and the Robberg Coastal Corridor. This has lead to the creation of our volunteer program and learning environment.

sow the seeds of change

The adventure capital of South Africa - The Garden Route has experiences for everyone from blue flag beaches to bungy jumping !

Some of the best adventures and experiences in and around the Garden Route are listed below. We have only listed those that are within 2 hours drive from our location.

Local Experiences

 

To start with, Plettenberg bay has six blue flag beaches to enjoy. There are numerous hiking and biking trails in the area to suite all needs. Apart from experiencing the beauty of the natural environment, there are a number of adventures and experiences within a short 2 hour drive from the farm. There is so much to do and experience in our area that we believe the best of to work hard and learn for four days and play hard with a three day weekend...maybe the rest of the world will catch on to this some day. What follows is a sample of some of the experiences waiting for you:

Bungy jump from the worlds highest bungy bridge, or just walk out onto the bridge for a tour of the operation or to watch a friend jump. Both experiences offered by Face Adrenalin

Drop in for a  Skydive in Plettenberg bay

Experience canyoning down the Salt River in the Crags with AfriCanyon

Go abseiling in the Crags with AfriAbseil

Experience whale and dolphin watching in Plettenberg bay with either Ocean Safaris or Ocean Blue

Go diving with Seals in Plettenberg Bay with Offshore Adventures

Explore the Tsitsikamma forest canopy with the Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour

Experience ziplining in the Tsitsikamma with Tsitsikamma Falls Adventures

Experience sailing in Knysna  with Springtide Charters , Or explore the lagoon and heads on a catamaran with the Heads Explorer or learn to sail with Southern Yachting

Go shark cage diving in Mosselbay with White Shark Africa

Learn to surf, or hire gear in Plettenberg bay with learntosurfplett.co.za or surfinplett.co.za

Go stand up paddleboarding (SUP) in Plettenberg Bay