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Life on the farm

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

It’s amazing so many people responded to this post on my facebook page. I feel I have to say something about the photo of the beautiful chameleon on our 1ha learning farm in the Philippi Horticultural Area that may not be obvious.

This is not a random event. We have planned this visit of the chameleon (and other creatures) and have prayed this would happen. We have a whatsapp group on the farm called ‘life on the farm’. I hope and pray this is only the beginning of the transformation of our humble learning farm. When others visit the farm, they won’t notice this life and transformation happening. But we who work the land do. At this stage, our farm is an awkward teenager or an unimpressive larva- ---before the butterfly appears. May the Almighty protect this process and our work.

What is happening that’s not so obvious? We are unearthing, making visible our traditional and indigenous farming knowledge, practise, farming ‘intuition and instinct’. We are healing and regenerating the natural world on the farm and nature's cycles AND heal ourselves farming the land. We are the colonised, evicted, unemployed farmworkers and landless farmers. The 'weggooi mense' [surplus people].

Why we doing this? Because we need to reclaim our own self, our history and our heritage from a history of colonial and Apartheid oppression. We still a colonised people. We got the vote but we still colonised. Nowhere is this more true than in our farming- who and how we produce our food; that which we eat 3 times a day every day 365 days of the year.

Our farming has it's roots in colonialism and colonial-settler farming. This has destroyed the soil- as it destroyed the colonised person and communities, destroyed our natural landscape AND colonized our imagination to make us- the colonized - think that is a good thing; that it’s a superior system, that this is progress; that the environment is there to be exploited by the farmer, that farmworkers are just inputs.

But the food produced out of this colonial-settler farming system is toxic. It has its roots in slavery labour [then] to slave wages [Western Cape farmworker uprisings], and driven by technology that is equally toxic like GMO’s and artificial intelligence as an extension of the dominion of the colonial-settler power structure over man and nature. But dont take my word for it. Google food +climate change, UN + soil degradation, cost + industrial agriculture nutrition and learn more. Plenty out there in the university of the internet if one cares to learn. This is not taught at school or universities nor is it televised.

This is not just a pretty picture of a beautiful chameleon. It’s much, much more. I am happy we are seeing more life on the farm. It shows we are on the right track. 🥕

What is the outcome we want to see from our humble 1ha farm in the PHA?

To have a farm that is part of the ecosystem and not apart from it. That the farm has a positive impact on off-farm ecosystem. That we small scale farmers take our rightful place in the food system and in our society. That the food we farm nourish us and those around us. That we are valued and supported by the most important rightsholder in the food system- the people who eat our food.

May the Almighty protect us and our space of learning, loving and working❤️🥕🌾 Nazeer

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