On 12 November 2016 I joined for a Food Forest Gardening workshop, facilitated by Matthew Koehorst from Six Kingdoms Project (read some posts created by Matthew) and permaculture designer Sean Spender.
Held on a beautiful farm in Wilderness Heights we had an incredible amount of lush growing indigenous trees around us, as well as shrubs like Impepho.
For this workshop the focus was on the concepts, knowledge and skills necessary to grow your own low-maintenance, productive system. During the morning we were presented with some history for permaculture gardening, as well as theory about forest architecture, forest dynamics and how to design and plan your garden. We looked at the specific site and its properties – including rainfall patterns on the Garden Route (year round rain, about 600-800mm per year) and the huge role of the Outeniqua mountains in the weather for the region. The farm is also situated on a hill, and subsequently it’s a meeting point for Afro Montane forest and Outeniqua Fynbos.
In the afternoon we had a very hands-on session during which we planted a variety of trees, herbs and plants which will become a forest yielding food throughout the year, except for the winter months. We planted fig, peach, plum, pomegranate, macadamia and apricot trees along with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and 10 different beneficial medicinal and supporting plants like African Wormwood (Wilde Als, Artemesia Afra).
In between we had more than enough tea breaks with yummy snacks, a delicious lunch and lots of time to chat and learn about each other. I met great people, including farmers, students and artists from the surrounding area, but also Cape Town and Stellenbosch.
About Six Kingdoms:
Six Kingdoms is a project that works on nurturing symbiotic relationships between people and the planet through collaborative education, ecosystem projects, holistic agricultural interventions and practical experimentation.
Instagram: @six_kingdoms/ firstname.lastname@example.org
About the facilitators:
Sean Spender is a Canadian plant biologist, permaculture designer and sustainable lifestyle enthusiast. He completed his Permaculture Design Certificate from Permaculture Education Africa in 2009 and has since worked on a variety of permaculture projects around the globe. He was lead designer and implementer of the Edible Forest Garden for Greenpop’s Trees for Zambia project in Livingstone, Zambia.
Matthew Koehorst is a passionate systems thinker and solution seeker with experience in large scale tree planting, ecological education, sustainable project management and land stewardship and restoration. He is the founder of Six Kingdoms and host at Farm 252, a land stewardship, biodiversity conservation and homesteading space in Wilderness Heights.