Previously an Accountant in Johannesburg, Hazel (pictured to your left) escaped the rat race to reinvent herself as a permaculture farmer and the proprietor of the Wild Olive Guest Farm, where she has been running permaculture courses for many years.
Hazel’s story is an inspiring one – she literally transformed a barren sheep farm located on bed of solid rock into a flourishing permaculture garden. What started it all, she says, was reading a book by Linda Woodrow: The Permaculture Home Garden.Hazel didn’t rest there, going on to obtain a Diploma in Permaculture in the UK and a Permaculture Design Certificate in SA.
She also holds a Permaculture “Train the Trainer” qualification, obtained in Wales from the Institute of Design Vision, which enables her to teach using methods designed by other permaculture teachers.
Hazel’s enthusiasm is boundless and her passion unmistakable in everything she does. She states:
“If a system is backed by nature, it becomes easy. If it’s hard, you’re doing something wrong”.
At 70 years of age, Avice Hindmarch (pictured to your right) displays an extraordinary vitality, a strong connection to the earth, and a keen sense of curiosity.
Avice worked as Nurse while raising four sons, feeding her family from their organic garden. She attended the first Permaculture Design Course in 1991 in Bryanston, Johannesburg during Bill Mollison's visit.
Her perspective immediately changed. Coming from a long line of gardeners, Avice had always thought that gardening seemed like a lot of work. She was thrilled to realise that there was a better way of doing things, a way in which human energy is maximised, through designing systems in line with nature.
Avice has worked in rural community development, establishing gardens for people with AIDS, Eco-township planning for Midrand, building a natural house of clay as well as being a founder member of an Eco-village. She continuously works on developing food sustainability on her own farm in Midrand, including cows, bees, poultry, vegetables and fruit.
Avice has been facilitating Permaculture Courses since 1991 locally as well as in Ghana and Malawi. She is advisor to Spier BD Farm and other broadscale farms in the Cape where a rain- dependant vinyard was established, plus pastures for Nguni cattle.
She is a longtime member of the Biodynamic Association of South Africa, and her expertise in this field formed part of the course.
Avice also lists an additional interest, working with the healing properties of the vortex movement on water through Flowform cascades. These days she is based in Onrus and volunteers at Camphill Farm Hermanus to assist in training young aspirant farmers/gardeners.
The best way to introduce you to Avice is through her words. In explaining the difference between Permaculture and Biodynamics (BD) she sums up how Permaculture is the practical aspect of farming whereas BD is the spiritual, with the statement:
"Permaculture focuses on nature's working relationships, while Biodynamics strengthens the effect of the planetary forces and cosmic rhythms on plant life through applications of specially prepared substances. They complement each other."
Find out about Permaculture Design Courses in South Africa
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Eco-travel & Lifestyles
Hi, my name is Melissa and I created this site together with photographer Christopher List to help spread awareness about green lifestyles and travel, so everyone can learn how easy it is to live in a sustainable way. Enjoy!
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