With a moderate climate, Plettenberg Bay may just be one of the most amazing places to grow edible crops (trees, herbs, shrubs and root crops). La Vista Lodge has become a place to grow sustainable resources for years to come.
In September 2019, we started to transform our natural forest area on the sun-facing north slope into an edible permaculture food forest for guests and staff. The project will take approximately seven years to start showing full results, but we are happy to say we are already seeing results and are planting continuously. Our guest house in Plettenberg Bay is transforming our natural forest into an edible permaculture food forest for guests and staff.
In addition to saving us money, we are also hoping to provide healthier options to our guests. By planting and growing special crops, owner Axel Will hopes to eliminate the harmful pesticides, chemical additives and growth hormones often found in local foods these days. However, the core benefit of our food forest will be for the soil. By planting a range of plants close together, we will naturally be adding layers upon layers of beneficial organisms to the soil. The end result – an incredibly rich and nutrient-dense soil.
We are using seven different layers of plants to mimic the natural ecosystem of a forest and hope to grow more than 100 different edible vegetation on the property by the end of 2020; and more than 250 by the end of the project. We should then have an oversupply of organic greens, vegetables and fruits at La Vista throughout the year.
One of the secrets to a successful food forest is to ensure that each and every plant and tree is carefully chosen to complement and work well with one another, and to provide some kind of yield. Every plant included either provides something for the lodge or for the system as a whole. We include as many of our fresh produce as possible in our daily menus.
We are excited about our new venture and encourage you to follow us as we take this journey to establish an edible permaculture food forest for our guests and staff.
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Some food for thought… A food forest has several benefits, including:
- Using less petrol for shopping and producing less plastic waste
- Saving water by mimicking a natural forest
- Working less each year
- Increased soil drainage due to worm channels
- Saving money
- Empowering employees with new skills
- Producing better quality homegrown foods
- Providing a healthy habitat for insects and indigenous animals