Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm
More than 35 years ago, Jean Malherbe, a single woman farmer in a male dominated conservative Afrikaans environment, started Bloublommetjieskloof Biodynamic Farm. This was the first biodynamic farm in the South Africa.
Website www.bloublommetjieskloof.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org
A brave pioneer creates a green utopia
Walking down the leafy pathway into the valley where Bloublommetjieskloof Farm is nestled is like walking into any greenie’s utopia. With lush overgrown areas encircling natural pastures housing a small crew of horses and cows, and a few cob cottages peaking out of the bush complementing a traditional old farm house, the farm is a happy mix of wild and tame. It’s exactly what you would expect from the oldest biodynamic farm in South Africa.
Bloublommetjieskloof was pioneered by Jean Malherbe, who bravely set out to convert the farm to biodynamic against the backdrop of a sternly conservative male-dominated farming community 40 years ago. It’s now owned and run by Wendy Lilje and her son Ishaan, who remain dedicated to the philosophy developed by Rudolph Steiner. The farm is certified by Demeter, and is inspected every year.
Accidental farmer takes the farm from strength to strength
Wendy came across the farm purely by accident nine years ago, and decided to buy it on a whim. She was already familiar with Steiner’s teachings, having come from a chemistry background at Weleda in the field of natural and homeopathic remedies. The first two years on the farm were spent fixing up what had fallen into disrepair after Jean had become too weak to manage things. The farm now boasts a wide range of products from dairy, fruit and fruit products, fresh herbs and salads, eggs and meat, to soaps and household cleaning products.
Biodynamic farms are by virtue mixed produce – they are seen as a living organism and strive to be completely self-sustainable. What comes from the farm goes back into the farm, and so it’s fitting that Wendy calls the compost heap the farm’s ‘kitchen’. “It’s where organic material is transformed into absorbable nutrients for the land”. The heaps are carefully designed and managed to get the maximum benefit both from a practical and an esoteric perspective.
From pastures to people
“But we also farm people,” says Wendy. By this she means the various educational initiatives they run. School groups visit for camps, they run biodynamic preparation workshops, and they even teach cob building techniques.
Having been established as a biodynamic farm for so long gives this farm an essence that’s hard to find elsewhere. It feels peaceful, balanced, and, well... right. Maybe it’s the inherent respect for the divine quality of all living things of the biodynamic philosophy that gives it this sense. Whatever it is, Bloublommetjies is the kind of place that makes you want stay all day. And then some.
Bloublommetjieskloof products are available across most regions of South Africa, as well as Namibia and Zimbabwe. See 'where to buy' tab.
Keeping track of where the various preparations have been buried. These fermented herbal and mineral preparations act as compost additives and field sprays to enhance fertility.
Wendy demonstrates how biodynamic Preparation 500 is sprayed onto the fields using a brush
Experimenting with circular planting
Cows in the spring time. Biodynamic principles restrict the number of cows per hectare.
The compost heap is the "kitchen" of the farm. Working the heaps well pays back with healthy land.
This is the 'donkey' and it burns alien wood from the farm to heat water for the Biodynamic Preparation 500, which needs water that has been warmed either by sunlight or fire - not electricity.
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