Tag Archive for: sustainability

Florence Chabanel, co-owner of Le Fournil de Plett, Plettenberg Bay. @ David Peter Harris.

Florence Chabanel, co-owner of Le Fournil de Plett, Plettenberg Bay. @ David Peter Harris.


On my first visit to Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape, I was pleased to find many stations where people could drop their recycling in the colourful bins. That was just one of the many signs that Plett is not only the ultimate holiday escape, but is a town built on firm eco ethics and awareness. Florence Chabanel, the French half of Le Fournil de Plett, is one of the drivers of this inspiring eco shift.

“Our passion is making our customers happy, in the same way you would treat your friends at home. We believe that you are what you eat, so nothing tops natural food that is chemical and preservative-free . At Le Fournil we are proud to make all our dishes from scratch, from home-made artisan breads to real stock for our hearty soups.  Sourcing and offering free-range and organic products as much as we can is our ethic and neither Jane (co-owner) or myself are ready to compromise.”

“What difference do we make in the world? We actively  participate in educating people’s taste as well as making our staff proud of their skills and their creations. So maybe we are not making a difference to the big world but we certainly do make a difference in our small,  little world. “


Le Fournil de Plett prides itself in a business ethos and inspiring eco choices, which pave the way for bigger changes.

Pop in for an almond croissant and a cup of coffee, or visit their Eco Atlas page.


Alshaun Bosch in his garden, Steenberg, Cape Town. He signed up for the training program offered by Soil for Life (SFL) and won Gardener of the Year @ David peter Harris.

Alshaun Bosch in his garden, in Steenberg, Cape Town. He signed up for the Home Food Garden Program offered by Soil for Life (SFL) and won Gardener of the Year in 2014 @ David Peter Harris.


We met Alshaun at his place in Steenberg, a community in the Southern Suburbs where very often gang crime flares up, putting its residents at high risk. He welcomed us with a bright smile, thrilled to take Louise from Soil for Life around, showing her (and us) the new developments and additions to his home vegetable garden. He tells us, “I wasn’t really interested in gardening before, I started by chance. Then, the first seeds started growing and I noticed little things coming alive. Now when I eat, I think that my food comes from something that was once little; I am in love with vegetables and I always tell my kids to eat them.”

“Gardening helps me with being patient, I never stop trying to get the results I want. My garden is my joy and my safe place. I sometimes hear gun shots but I know I am safe here. It has become a meditative, spiritual and liberating experience”.

Alshaun took part in the Home Food Garden Program run by the Cape Town-based NGO Soil For Life (SFL). The organisation educates and trains people in organic food gardening, running hands-on practical training courses in impoverished communities so that families can grow their own healthy food all year around. SFL provides ongoing support and advice to the home food gardeners. Alshaun won the Home Gardener of the Year in 2014; he now makes his own compost, some of which is sold at SFL’s Resource Centre in Constantia, grows organic vegetables and he is planning to open a nursery too. He makes beautiful up-cycled pots and planter boxes, that can be purchased directly from him (email us if you would like to make contact).


Alshaun in his garden in Steenberg @David Peter Harris.

Alshaun in his home vegetable garden in Steenberg, Cape Town @David Peter Harris


SFL is running the fourth edition of the annual Eat for the Earth Campaign. During the month of June, anyone can register for a meal, receive tips for growing and preparing wholesome food, and host a  meal where you and your friends can share delicious food, and donate resources to SFL. and trains people in


Host a fundraising meal, or get in touch with Soil For Life via their website.



It takes hard work and vision to build a world that works

Getting lost in Cintsa is as easy as pronouncing its name is not – “Tsk”-IN-t-SAH. Along the way, you’ll see marvellous aberrations, I mean adaptations of the word on road signs advertising everything from trees to beer. Very entertaining.  Maybe that’s why I struggled to find it.  Maybe it was Google Maps’ crowd-sourced content or the receptionist’s colourful directions. It definitely doesn’t matter; I’m not the first to get lost in the sticks and I won’t be the last to look upon this piece of the Eastern Cape coastline with wonder.


Pulling in to Buccaneers in time for a delicious dinner, I dined with the co-owner, Sean Price, a marvellously incisive and passionate man who approaches his work responsibly and efficiently.


Going greener is ideal, but easier in some ways than in others and small businesses have a big challenge here. Growing herbs and harvesting rainwater –  which they do – is not quite as complicated (or as expensive) as going off-grid, which they’d like to do. For any existing tourism and hospitality business to serve both the law and the land, this usually means major changes to existing infrastructure and a significant investment in appropriate alternative energy. Speaking of which, Buccaneers is busy changing its garbage disposal process in alignment with new regulations. “We manage ALL our waste ourselves,” Sean pointed out before outlining how they are continuing their existing commitment by upgrading their processes at their own expense. Buccaneers is also Fair Trade Certified since 2010 and believes that business can be an instrument of change as long as it’s economically viable.  The question of whether business can, by itself, afford to invest in the gamut of sustainable solutions still sits in my mind next to the question of whether we can afford not to as a species. I left the dining room deep in thought.


My home for the night was a stylish wooden house on stilts called Biko. I’m glad my host did him justice by giving me a lot to think about and that the finishes were clean and fine to calm me. In that little palace with its wonderful view of the river opening out into the ocean, I pondered the balance of things in the company of complimentary beach towels, polished floors, and a beautiful shower. Would I give aspects of this up for Mother Nature? Would I need to if products and services that serve the earth were cheaper? Can the consumer subsidise this, or must government?  Having failed to solve the problem of this aspect of the human condition in one evening, I went to sleep with the song of the ocean wafting up through the windows.


Tip : get up extra early for spectacular sunrises.

To find out more about the social and environmental priorities focussed on at Buccaneers, visit their page on Eco Atlas.