On Friday 10 May, 25 learners and two educators were privileged to go on an educational outing to the Herding Academy at St Olive’s Farm. We were warmly welcomed by Sarah who gave the group a video presentation of the Herding Academy. Following that, Gavin, the farm manager, and the 12 Academy students accompanied the eco warriors into the veld where they were divided into two groups and shown the practical applications and outcomes of herding, soil erosion management and maximization skills of nature’s gift, rain.
The herding method of land restoration and management has been based on natural migration patterns in nature. The students observe nature and conduct experiments to come up with best operating practices. The intense grazing and ground trampling of a herd of animals that have been enclosed in a camp for a few days fertilizers and loosens the soil. The concentrated nutrient-rich animal dung is worked into the soft soil as the herd tramples the grazing ground. The herd is then moved to another area where the process is repeated. Each student stays with his/her herd for an entire week, living in a bush caravan and moving with the herd.
The Academy students also taught the group about maximizing rain water usage and mulching. Since taking care of the soil is of primary importance, the group learnt about soil erosion management. They observed areas of land where the outcomes of experiments clearly show the benefits of managed herding.
The Academy’s integrity stems from the fact that their work emulates natural patterns and uses lessons from nature to restore the land and maximize their uses of natural resources. Their mission is a three-fold one: economic, environmental and caring for society. It boils down to taking care of the land, the biodiversity and the people, thus creating a sustainable recipe for success, health and prosperity. The Eco Club thoroughly enjoyed their visit to St Olives and is looking forward to future visits at the Herding Academy. Grateful thanks to Johan Bouwer, Sarah, Gavin and the Academy Students for this opportunity.