Spier Biodynamic Farm
This is a farm in Stellenbosch that raises chickens, cattle and vegetables in a way that is healthy for the environment. Carbon-negative beef!
Website www.spier.co.za/what_to_do_at_spier/farm_visits/ Mobile 0826808978 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
A barefoot grass farmer
Angus is a no-nonsense man who doesn’t wear any shoes. Maybe it gives him a deeper sense of connection with the earth he works. Maybe he is rebelling after many years of wearing a suit in the financial district of London. Or maybe he just doesn’t like shoes.
Footwear aside, this barefoot farmer has a lot to say about modern farming methods. Not much of it is good. Having grown up on a cattle farm in KwaZulu-Natal, he knows a bit about the industry, and since returning to the land, has taken the alternative route of biodynamic farming. “Organic is good,” says Angus, “but biodynamic is better. It’s truly in tune with nature.” He’s inspired by the philosophies of Joel Salatin (read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan) and, while he raises cattle, he calls himself a “grass farmer”.
Angus uses the high density ‘mobgrazing’ technique for farming his grass fed cattle. Developed through observing the actions of herds of large wild herbivores, this method mimics nature and is particularly good at sinking carbon. “If ten percent of cattle in the world were grazed in this way, we wouldn’t have the carbon issues we have today”, he says. Mobgrazing works by allowing the cattle to graze the top third of the grass plant (the healthiest bit) only before moving them along. The roots are then ‘shed’, effectively storing carbon in the soil. This allows for optimal grass growth, and carbon-negative beef. It’s not often you hear that.
Eating food is political
“98% of cattle in South Africa are grain-fed. This isn’t healthy for them, but because retailers go for the lowest prices farmers are forced to turn to industrial methods to make a living. Rainforests are being destroyed to feed cattle grain!” Angus believes that current food systems are causing the wrong people to produce the wrong food in the wrong places. The food we eat has a direct impact on food policies the world over, and eating is therefore a political act. “The irony is that most people try to avoid politics, but you really can’t when it’s on your plate.”
The slaughterhouse with a respect for life
At the Spier Biodynamic Farm, they also produce real freerange chickens (ones that actually roam around in the fields and bathe themselves in dust) and biodynamic veggies. All the animals that are farmed for their meat are slaughtered on site. The slaughterhouse is about as good as a place like that gets – the staff are taught to respect the animals and revere and be humbled by the power that they have when taking an animal’s life. To be conscious.
Angus hopes to raise awareness and erase consumer apathy about food production. “Agriculture causes the most destruction on the planet, but also presents the biggest opportunity to heal the planet, empower people and reduce poverty.” This is the kind of farmer we trust.
These pasture-raised chickens get to roam free in the fields.
2 100 chickens live in these egg mobiles at night. They lay between 1 600 and 1 900 eggs a day.
The chicks are kept indoors until they're strong enough to venture out at 3 weeks.
The biodynamic vegetables are supplied to Spier's restaurants
Angus stands at the entrance to the humane slaughterhouse
Some of Spier Biodynamic farm's produce is available at the Stellenbosch farmers market at the Waldorf school
- Continental Butchery, Kloof Street
- Giovannis, Greenpoint
- Organic Zone, Lakeside
- Wellness Warehouse
- Melissas, Stellenbosch
- Organic Farmer's Market, Waldorf School
- Stellenbosch Waldorf School Shop
- Tokara Deli
- Somerset Fine Food Spar
- Bread and Wine
- Caffe Milano
- Dear Park Cafe
- Delaire Graff
- Eight at Spier
- La Motte
- Le Quartier Francais
- Mount Nelson
- Oude Bank Bakkerij
- Rust en Vrede
- 96 Winery Road
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