The first Sunflower ...
Grow your own home. You need one Ha of hemp (Cannabis sativa) to make enough hemp bricks to build a basic home, yet you can also land up in jail, because it is illegal. Hemp is indigenous to the Eastern Cape, it needs no pesticides, grows to full size in about 5 months and apart from bricks for housing, it has a ton of other uses, like paper, clothing etc, here is a whole list http://www.hempsa.co.za/Uses/HempUses.htm
This is not an “I am a hippie and I want to grow dagga” thing, hemp is an amazing and sustainable plant, much more so than, for instance, Pine trees (for paper), they are also much less thirsty. According to Tim we have about 20 Ha available here at KD to cultivate the plants.
In my understanding the Dti (Department of Trade and Industry) launched a pilot project last year; they called it “grow your own home”. The project must have been a success because they are looking at giving more licenses next year. Yes, you can now grow small amounts, but you must get a license to grow it. Exactly what the criteria is for obtaining a license is still a mystery to me, but I have this plan in my head.
The plan is this – seeing that there is already this pilot program going, why not extent on that. We have 20 Ha, give 5 ha to 5 families, they also help us with the other 15 Ha, but the profit or bricks from one Ha belongs to the family, that way we extent on an existing program, we do really help people to help themselves and we are growing a indigenous, hardy, no need for pesticides plant with 101 uses. We will look into applying for this license early next year, far too late for this year.
Hemp is also a wonderful companion plant for brassica’s (that is Broccoli, Cabbage, sprouts etc.), they repel insects that eat brassica’s, so while you are at it, you can also grow some food in between, but as I said those are all plan(t)s for next year.
Claire and Seth
Back to the present. Claire and Seth are two Volunteers visiting us at the moment. They are our first local (South African) volunteers. We have a serious cooking competition going on between Riaan and Claire. They are trying to outdo each other with meals and chutney and desserts, we (Seth and me) are not complaining! Tonight we are having filled pancakes, all vegetarian, need I add? Riaan has always liked cooking, but he told me the other day that he likes cooking even more without meat (Riaan became a vegetarian when we moved here), it is apparently more creative and there are less flies (actually none) buzzing about, just one of those hidden bonuses about not having meat around is that you also do not have a lot of flies around.
Dinner is ready… and tomorrow night Claire is making Pizza’s.