Food and Trees for Africa to open office at Backsberg | Video
The environmental NGO Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) is opening a Cape Town office (we are still thinking of a name, ‘office’ doesn’t quite do it) on Backsberg. FTFA makes a huge contribution in the environmental space. These efforts are spearheaded by CEO and founder Jeunesse Park. I spent most of Saturday afternoon brainstorming with Jeunesse about the project, its aims and vision. All I can say is that I am incredibly excited about the coming months!
In the video above you can see the construction of FTFA’s new Backsberg home. The structure is made predominantly out of straw bales. Building out of straw bales is by no means a new idea; there are straw bale buildings in the UK which are centuries old. Straw is great for insulation and is far more sustainable than most building materials.
I also wanted to share a letter from my father from a recent newsletter (you can subscribe to the newsletter here):
I have always believed intrinsically in the idea of partnerships – if for no other reason than two brains and two commitments are better than one. Some of the best partnerships that I have ever been involved with however, have been sans contracts.
Consequently, I am feeling very excited and without any trepidation at going into a paperless “partnership” with Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) – an NGO headed by a most wonderful lady, Jeunesse Park. Jeunesse and I have known each other for many years and connect on a number of levels. Besides our value systems, one of these levels is care for the environment. FTFA are in need of accommodation, office and exhibition space in the Peninsula and we’ll be assisting them with this here on the farm. Doing this serves a number of purposes. Firstly, it is a way to give recognition to Jeunesse and the wonderful work she has done. Secondly, it gives us an opportunity to take our environmental care initiatives to another level. The fact that we are the only carbon neutral winery in South Africa, and part of a very select group internationally, is an important milestone for us. Having achieved this status, we believe that we now have to assume an educational role and show the broader community that care for the environment is both challenging and exciting at the same time.
While I don’t want to sound too much like a “treehugger” (although I am), there is much for us to do to help Mother Earth in her time of climate change crisis. At Backsberg, thousands of people visit us every year, and in this way we can participate in getting this message across: we have run out of options. We must now give back what we have taken. We must see Mother Earth as a partner, not as a resource to plunder at will. Together with FTFA we envisage showing how simple it can be to affect change.