Rammteck’s local team has been hard at work designing and constructing our Permaculture Centre’s facilities. Rammteck is a South African company which hires locally and trains community members, which contributes to job creation and skill development. Our facilities were designed to preserve the African style of design while incorporating sustainable methodologies. Rammteck achieves this by using rammed earth technology which uses local materials and has a small environmental footprint. The technique of rammed-earth creates walls using a mixture of silt/clay and the sand and soil that has been extracted from the property and repeatedly ramming the mixture into place between flat panels called framework. Along with our community building, Rammteck has built our outdoor classroom, groundskeeper’s cottage, and our restrooms using rammed-earth.
The community building will be home to many new community programs including after school clubs, cooking classes, guest lectures, and garden support. The centre will have a computer room and meeting space which will help enhance our programs. Community members are welcome to come and learn about permaculture from our gardens and ask for advice in creating their own home gardens. We look to create greater access to affordable healthy foods and this starts with teaching individuals how to create their own successful gardens. We choose to garden using permaculture techniques as permaculture is a holistic approach to gardening which takes into account the garden’s location, climate conditions, and the resources available. Permaculture uses less water than traditional monocropping methods and is affordable, utilizing what is already available to the gardener. Our Permaculture Manager, Leanette Sithole, is highly experienced and educated in permaculture and will be on site to provide support. We hope to create a seed library for community members to have easy access to seeds and to learn how to grow and care for young seedlings which will also reduce the cost for someone starting their own garden.
We already have a thriving permaculture garden, growing fresh fruits and vegetables year round for A Spring of Hope’s guest lodge, Thulani. We are currently working on plans to create a CSA (community sustained agriculture), selling produce to the local lodges. This program would help us fund further projects at the centre and spread greater awareness about A Spring of Hope. Our garden also serves as a demonstration on permaculture and basic permaculture principles. Leanette and our garden helper, Susan work each day in the garden caring for the plants, harvesting crops, creating new garden beds, and planting new seedlings.
Our centre is located in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga South Africa which is close to many of our partner schools. This proximity to our partner schools allows us to host after-school programs for these students and even bring classes in for special workshops that relate to the curriculum they are learning. Our Strong Girls Make Strong Women/Strong Boys Make Strong Men club will be one afterschool program which will welcome both girls and boys from the surrounding schools to come learn team building, leadership, and communication skills, along with how to navigate healthy relationships, learn about health and wellness including puberty, safe sex, and HIV/AIDS, and learn about finances and budgeting. The club heavily focuses on how to support one another to create an environment which empowers women and achieves gender equity. The program is already being piloted at some of our partner schools however they are just for girls; with our community centre, we wanted to invite boys to participate which will help to support all kids in the area and allow us to talk with boys about issues related to masculinity and the impact of patriarchy in the family and the community. We hope to provide a space where kids can learn, grow, and be inspired.
This is just a look into A Spring of Hope’s Permaculture Centre and we hope that you will continue to follow us as we open our centre and introduce new programs to the community. Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach our fundraising goal