sproutingforth's blog

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get a consol solar jar

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2012-01-24 11:29.

We've just got one of these really nifty, and pretty solar jars from Consol.

The solar jar has a wee solar panel in the lid of the jar that stores energy during the day. It then releases light at night; a fun and sustainable alternative light supply - great for when the lights go out (they're threatening blackouts again soon).

The solar panelling, when placed in the sunlight, powers the LED batteries for almost six hours before it needs to be recharged.

And it comes with a little click or ‘switch’ so that the light can be controlled - it is not automatically 'on' and working when you don't want it to be.

Great gift idea, and green credentials - the glass jars are 100% recyclable and on average each Consol Glass container consists of 35% recycled content.

cost: R120/R150

where can you get one? At Consol retail outlets in Woodmead (Gauteng) and Stellenbosch (Cape Town) or on the website www.solarjar.co.za

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leaving only footprints

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2012-01-17 13:58.

We do one of 5 new trails in the Cape West Coast Biosphere

After another average week, similar to the one most of us experience – rush, dash, hare down the road, swerve round that corner, beat that deadline, race to fetch/buy/get – the drive out to Paternoster did little to relax me.

The sun beat down on us, as we drove towards the slowly setting star that is the source of our energy, and the traffic was, well, it was Friday traffic, need I say more?

But as we strolled down onto the beach in Paternoster and I felt the sand between my toes – no watch, cell phone or child (he's been left safely with relatives) to distract me, bar the camera I hold in an attempt to capture the moment – it is as if I sink into a comfy and well-worn sofa.


Cape West Coast Biosphere - 5 trails

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2012-01-17 13:43.

For more about the trails – here's a whole blurb about each, who you need to contact for more information, and to book.

“The Five Bay Trail, Darling Stagger, Wheels of Time, Eve's Trail and the Berg River Canooze are hospitable Cape West Coast trails for everyone, from hardcore mountain lovers, twitchers and botanists to family groups and modern-day strandlopers.”

The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve, for those of you who, like me, didn't know of its existence, lies between Diep River in Milnerton in the south, the Berg River, Velddrif in the north, the N7 at the towns of Moreesberg and Malmesbury in the east and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

It is one of only six biospheres recognised as such by UNESCO in South Africa.


an organic affair with chocolate

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2011-11-23 13:44.

CocoáFair is the first organic bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Africa based on social entrepreneurship.

I do not realise on entering the factory of CocoáFair, tucked into the corner at the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, that I'm about to learn more about social entrepreneurship than I am about chocolate.

For many of us just the promise of locally made, artisan, organic chocolate is enough of an invitation to have us reaching for a taste...and believe me, having sampled, it is a mouth-watering experience.

But Thor soon explains, as I query the name, that yes, CocoáFair is definitely about the fairness involved in the way the cocoa is traded, but the emphasis is also very much on the 'affair' with cocoa – not only the love of it, but the relationship of cocoa with the people who grow it, and the people who turn it into chocolate.

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thumbs up for the broccoli project

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-09-05 13:35.

Did you know that you can buy a booklet of four Broccoli vouchers from Pick n Pay? Each of these is worth R5 and you can use them instead of cash to give to those in need.

So, next time you're at a robot...

If this is old news to you, then ignore this blog, but it is news to me. And a refreshing one.

You give your voucher to someone who wants money. They can then exchange the Broccoli voucher at any Pick n Pay for basic goods (no cell phone recharge, alcohol or cigarettes).

Pick n Pay gets paid for used food vouchers


fresh earth food store - one place you gotta eat

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-08-04 09:25.

I'm sitting at a wooden table in an alcove amidst the buzz of the café that lies to one side of the food store cum health shop that is the Fresh Earth Food Store, exclaiming over my breakfast. I can count on one hand the number of eateries* where I can hope to find something on the menu, like my choice of French Toast on wheat-free bread, with 'real' free-range eggs and real maple syrup (the Canadian kind not cheap, flavoured syrup).

This particular dish also comes with huge slices of haloumi cheese. You have no idea how good it was. Heart-warming stuff. Add to that the African-brewed organic and Fair Trade decaf coffee (Bean There Coffee) that I'm enjoying with, I have no doubt, 'real' milk (not the kind full of hormones and other stuff, because the cows are fed so badly) with a choice of rice or soy milk if you do not do dairy, or are vegan.


get journaling about your veg patch

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2011-06-20 09:44.

How often have you scribbled a quick note about what's happening in your garden on the back of seed packets, calendar pages, or even nifty little cards you've designed, only to lose them as swiftly? I bet you may even have bought a graph book for your designs, with the notes scribbled eligibly over the grid?

And all of this done in great faith that your stumbling upon a gardening journal, in which you could keep these scribbles, was just around the corner; a visit to the bookshop away.

It was these very erratic methods of journaling that led Barbara and Christine of the www.thegardeningblog.co.za to design a journal that they could use. Enchanted with the result they decided to make the journal available to other gardeners in similar positions of note dithering.


city gardens - send us your pictures

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-06-07 09:49.

This set of city garden pictures, captured by artists Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg, records the rise of community gardening in post-industrial locations, as residents attempt to 'bind the community together and improve their environments'.

Send us your pictures so that we can compile similar for South African city gardens to sprouts[@]urbansprout.co.za

Or post it on our facebook page.

Images can be of community gardens, rooftop gardens, pavement gardens, your own veggie garden at home, container gardens, pond gardens, windowsill gardens! If you're into gardening (vegetable, indigenous, exotic, whatever) and live in one of SA's great cities (extended metropolitan area's too!) then share your photo!


water is the lifeblood of the country

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2011-05-19 11:13.

The unofficial water bailiff of Gamkakloof Dam in the Karoo speaks out. A beautiful film by green renaissance.

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graze - slow food in the overberg town of stanford

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2011-05-17 14:05.

Stanford already has its requisite village market on the green, held on the last Friday evening of the month. During summer, I believe, it's a great place to be. The town is no newcomer to good, local food either and both Marianas and Madré's Kitchen are well supported by locals and Capetonians, who if the influx of 4x4s is anything to go by, make no bones about using Stanford as their regular weekend and holiday base.

It's a beautiful town, is Stanford. It's got everything you could possibly hope for in an Overberg village – gorgeous historical and restored buildings that the local heritage committee have not only individually numbered, but have also included in an Historical Stanford on foot, which you can pick up at the local tourism info (just across the road from the Stanford Trading Store).