In 2010 my journey toward edible and medicinal plants began. It started in a garden in Johannesburg. I was also led to learning to grow and survive under extreme weather conditions, living in tents and teepees, and to a few amazing farms in a few provinces, where the type of accommodation varied. I had many trials of either too hot or too cold, too humid or too dry conditions, and quickly learnt the importance of timing and listening to nature in order to plant and grow what was required. My focus switched to herbs and herbalism, because of the remoteness of where I lived at times, and because of the need for healthcare that I see everywhere I go. It has stirred quite a passion within me to produce the finest quality blends of herbal teas.
The vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants found in many herbs have been proven to provide many short and long term health benefits. This is what we ALL need to add to our diets.
Here, in South Africa, we have a massive need for more holistic approaches to health and farming. I returned to city life, on more than one occasion, and in one of them I worked for a small company that produced training and team building in creating edible gardens at schools and in peoples’ backyards. Both in and out the city life, I have discovered a massive need for more biodiversity as well, (which improves the quality of our oxygen among other things), and naturally grown food and medicine.
On this journey I began to offer consultations for garden design and interactive workshops in them. In the process, my dream to have community and set up small gardens producing food and medicine locally got tried and tested in many ways. I ended up working in and out of an alternative system, with blinkers on and off, for no money just land use, a few times. I also did the same job, or part of it, for ridiculous amounts of money at times. However, since returning to Johannesburg beginning of 2019, I began starting the business of making teas, connecting the growers, farmers and places I have grown in.
When I see a piece of land, it is a personal process of connecting with my intuition and the land. I love to work with the contour lines on the earth, and use all the natural materials that are often overlooked or taken out of the garden as waste. Essentially labouring to create a garden in a layout that is creating compost underneath the plants, and around them, working in layers of organic matter and with plants according to their properties and use to heal the soil ph and acidity balance, in order to produce stronger plants that produce a higher yield. I am involved in creating training material for growers, growing seeds and plants as well … more than just tea;-) Afterall there is alot of sentiment in a cup of tea.
The gardens all start with a clean up, then a layout, using the materials gathered in the cleanup. They all produced a variety of larger than usual plants, requiring less watering and practically no expense, within their first year. Some were left to the mercy of nature, and eventually cleared away and others are still well taken care of and loved.
Most of the growers and gardeners I work with now, in producing the teas follow permaculture principles and are either organically certified or heading that way 😉 Art of Craft aims to assist in the healing of our earth.