“Live Life Well” From the Inside Out 

13

APRIL, 2024

By Jessie Leverzencie

“Live Life Well.” What images does this phrase bring up in your head? If you could live well, or live your best life, what would that look like? The answer to this question varies from person to person, depending on what each individual deems important in life. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that when it comes to what we eat, living well has clear parameters. 

Greenpop partnered with Wellness Warehouse to revolutionise our Food Village at our annual restoration event, Reforest Fest, this year. As part of the Wellness ethos, we focussed on 4 main pillars, which all fall underneath the Wellness outlook: ‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine’. We worked towards changing the narrative around food, shifting perspectives, and bridging the gap between farm to table. 

Striking a Balance In Our Fast-Paced World

In the urbanised, tech-centred world many of us live in, chronic stress, insomnia, bad diet, lack of exercise and decreased mental well-being are all side-effects of a fast-paced modern life. Takeout lunches and unhealthy snacking have become the norm for many individuals who lack the time in their bustling schedules to prepare nutritious meals. Convenience-driven habits, coupled with the increasing cost of food, which often leaves people unable to afford healthier options, have left the average person with a diet that isn’t as wholesome, varied, and nutritious as it should be.

“Fresh produce, fish and meat need to be refrigerated and restocked, unlike shelf-stable items. Those transportation and replenishment costs get passed on to the consumer. Other factors include labor shortages, inflation, and most importantly: supply and demand.” – CBS News

On the other hand, the world’s increased attention on health, longevity and the benefits of good sleep, has flipped the switch for many people. Individuals and communities across the globe are becoming increasingly aware of their health, and taking care of themselves from the inside out. The first step to this process? One’s diet.

healthy eating veg garden

Greenpop’s Partnership With Wellness Warehouse

Wellness Warehouse has been a partner of Greenpop, both in our Forests for Life project, as well as our events, including Reforest Fest and the Eden Festival of Action. 

Did you know? When shopping at a Wellness Warehouse store, you can choose to donate to tree-planting efforts at Greenpop, at checkout. 

Wellness Warehouse was first established in 2007 and is now a leading organic food retailer in South Africa, successfully running over 50 stores with organic and natural cosmetic goods and food items, including conscious cosmetics and beauty, eco-home products and so much more. The products stocked at their stores are made with natural ingredients and packaging is as sustainable as possible, which makes shopping at Wellness Warehouse an easy and informed choice for the eco-conscious consumer. Read more about Greenpop’s partnership with Wellness Warehouse here.

Greenpop Reforest Fest Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat

Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Reforest Fest took place at the beautiful Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat again this year, and saw participants dive into the serenity of nature, escaping the stress of modern life for a full weekend. Part of the mission of our Greenpop events is to showcase to people how one can live in better harmony with the planet, through simple, easy-to-implement practices. 

Our partnership with Wellness Warehouse aimed to start this conversation and cultivate a community of changemakers. Being conscious of what you put on your plate makes more of a difference than you think, for yourself as well as the environment. With industrial agriculture and mass-scale farming exclusively focusing on production levels to keep supermarket shelves full, ecological compromise is inevitable.

Starting your own herb garden (windowsill or in the ground), buying from local farmers, eating seasonally, purchasing less meat, and ditching expensive, overly processed alternatives, are simple ways to incorporate more wholesome foods into your diet without breaking the bank. 

Conversations and practical representations of this outlook were made possible through the Wellness Food Village, our vendor mandate pre-event, and educating festivalgoers through interactive live food demos with some foodie gurus.

The Blue Zone Phenomenon

Okinawa Japan

Okinawa Japan, Photograph: Daily Sabah

“In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed with National Geographic, the National Institute on Aging, and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better, longer.” – Blue Zones Project

“Blue Zones” are geographic areas with lower rates of chronic diseases and a longer life expectancy. Diet, fasting, and exercise are factors associated with Blue Zones. Italy, Greece, Japan, Costa Rica, and the US have a Blue Zone. Heathline

Since its discovery, the Blue Zone phenomenon has left modern citizens captivated and curious as to how to replicate this way of life, and ‘find the fountain of youth’. Well, the good news is that this ‘fountain of youth’ is not as unattainable as one may think. While genetics play a big role in how long someone will live, there are factors one can incorporate into their lives to change this and add life to your years.  

The current Blue Zones listed are Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya, Coast Rica. Some of the common daily habits found across all of these Blue Zones include:

  • Natural movement
  • Ikigai or a purpose for rising each day
  • A strong focus on community and connection with those around you
  • Enjoying a glass of good quality wine each day
  • Eating until one is 80% full, with a focus on healthy, whole and plant-based foods.

For the modern city-dweller some of these may seem out of reach, but ditching some of the conveniences we have at our disposal,  would do a world of wonders for our physical and mental health.

strawberry picking

“Let Food Be Thy Medicine” 

“Let food be thy medicine” is the ethos adopted by Wellness Warehouse and Greenpop at this year’s Reforest Fest. This is not to take away from the importance and key role actual medicine plays in one’s health, but rather to speak on how food not only feeds us, but also directly impacts the health and well-being of our bodies and the environment. Food in this way, when approached holistically, can be the healing balm for our natural environments and our bodies. 

“Let food be thy medicine” takes on a profound meaning when we embrace ethically grown, whole foods, and locally sourced ingredients. By supporting sustainable, local farmers, we reduce transport emissions and nurture our bodies with nourishing, wholesome produce. This mindful approach to food not only promotes well-being but also contributes to the health of the planet, fostering a balanced harmony between our bodies and the environment.

4 pillars of the food at Reforest Fest

Our event vendors were sent our Vendor Mandate, pre-event, which helped frame up the updated approach we wanted to adopt at the festival and how they could help make this a reality. This approach was centred around 4 main pillars.

1. As many whole foods as possible

 We encourage whole-natural foods over highly processed meals, where possible. If you can source organic, all the better. Whole foods are important because they provide essential nutrients, fibre, and natural compounds that are beneficial for overall health and well-being. 

2. Ethically grown 

Where do your ingredients come from? What kind of work, time and effort were put into growing or supplying the ingredients? Can you confidently say that these were ethically grown, sourced or produced? Ethical foods are important because they support fair labour practices, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability, contributing to a healthier and more responsible food system.  Read all about regenerative agriculture here.

3. At least 80% local

 In the surrounding community to the Festival is an abundance of farmers, producing a wide diversity of foods. We plan to assist you in getting access to these foods to be sure you get fresh, wholesome and local produce wherever possible. The Western Cape (and the Overberg specifically) is abundant with all types of products coming from our beautiful province – let’s support the local suppliers and be mindful to include them in our purchases and menu planning (more on this below). Supporting local farmers is important because it promotes regional economic resilience, reduces environmental impact through shorter food supply chains, and fosters community connections in the Uilenkraal area while ensuring access to fresh, seasonal produce. 

4. Reducing transport emissions

Reducing the emissions related to the movement of foods is crucial for mitigating climate change, preserving air quality, and minimising the environmental impact of the food system, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to food production and distribution. Greenpop is excited to take this step with you! To greatly reduce fuel emissions from the transportation of ingredients, we are putting together a list of suppliers that can be ordered from (with a sufficient lead time), and delivered to site.

The Wellness Food Village at Reforest Fest 2024. Photographers: Skyla Haley, Shari Lee Thompson

Eating With The Planet In Mind

One of the key focuses of the food at Reforest Fest this year was to serve meals that were eco-friendly, socially conscious, tasty, and nutritious. Falling into the eco-friendly mission of this focus was our goal to partner with local farms in the Overstrand Region to source seasonal and local produce. 

Shopping seasonally has a multitude of benefits, including reducing carbon emissions caused by shipping out-of-season foods from elsewhere in the world; biodiversity preservation relating to crop production; and sustainable farming practices, to name a few. 

Eggcellent Eggs, Klein River Cheese, Fauxmage Dairy-Free Cheese and Organic Brunch, are all farms within the Overstrand area that represent ethical food production and resonate with our mission to promote sustainable living. The importance of local, seasonal and ethical produce is immense, which is why we hold these sustainable suppliers and farms dear to our hearts. By incorporating foods and ingredients from these farms into the meals served at Reforest Fest, we not only celebrated the flavours of the Overberg, but also bolstered awareness of these local businesses, which mirrored our vision with the Wellness ethos. 

On Sunday afternoon at Reforest Fest, we lavished in these local flavours with Kolossal Hospitality. Chef Bridget Bartelmann joined us for the second consecutive year at Reforest Fest, with an array of spoils at the much anticipated Sunday Harvest Feast. Guests lined up for the buffet, plates piling with a variety of tasty delicacies, from falafels, pies, cheeses and salads to brownies, honeycomb and mouth-watering chocolate mousse pots.

This Wellness ethos was reflected throughout the Wellness Food Village at the event, which was curated with a diverse array of vendors serving meal options consisting of plant-based local, seasonal and ethical produce. Festivalgoers were spoilt for choice with a variety of delicious, wholesome meal options served by our vendors, including vegan cupcakes, brownies and samoosas, pizzas, wraps, smoothies, and lots more!

Taste buds were tickled with three live cooking demos from our foodies Love Kos Mos, Sunshine Food Co., and The Root Den, who prepared meals with superfood ingredients from Wellness Warehouse and taught festivalgoers new recipes to switch up their next home-cooked meal. Seeing what was possible with food through the array of meals on offer, and the demos, was an inspirational snapshot of what is possible when eating with your health and the planet’s in mind. 

reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Jessie Leverzencie

Wellness Warehouse – Chocolate, Honey & Wine Pairing 

On Easter Sunday, festival attendees indulged in a delightful array of curated honey, chocolate and wine pairings. These luxurious pairings were enhanced with the wines from our Conservation Wine Tent, in partnership with WWF South Africa. The Conservation Wine Tent showcased a roster of 6 wineries on a mission to revolutionise sustainable wine farming in the Western Cape.

Featuring locally sourced raw honey from the Overberg Honey Company and sumptuous dark chocolates and honey from Wellness Warehouse, the tasting session was a symphony of flavours. The delightful selection of vegan dark chocolates and truffles from Wellness Warehouse, embodied the essence of Reforest Fest’s narrative on food and beverage, from production to fair trade policies. The rich, cocoa-infused dark chocolates paired exquisitely with the robust red wines, delighting tasters who savoured each sip and bite while remaining mindful of their choices.

Did you know? “Both red wine and dark chocolates are a rich source of antioxidants. Not only do they facilitate the removal of the accumulated toxins from the body but also lower the incidence of cell damage and infections in the body. By removing free radicals from the body effectively, dark chocolates and red wine keep the skin youthful and healthy. Not only do they invigorate the process of cell regeneration but also play a role in the formation of collagen, which is the main structural protein found in the skin.” Love Cocoa

Reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Christian Khayo

Health is Holistic 

In the hustle and bustle of our busy daily lives, it’s all too easy to succumb to the conveniences of modern living. Yet, amidst the busyness of our fast-paced world, a revolution is underway— one that is driven by a mission to get back to nature and care for ourselves from the inside out.

This revolution is not just about personal well-being; it’s about recognising the interconnectedness of our choices with the health of our planet. By embracing mindful consumption, and opting for seasonal and local produce, we not only nurture our own bodies, but also become stewards of the environment. As seen through the habits of individuals living in Blue Zones, where whole foods and seasonal produce are cherished, the connection between what we eat and the well-being of both ourselves and nature becomes vividly apparent.

Living well may differ from person to person, but when it comes to what we put on our plates, it’s clear what adds life to our years. We would like to extend a massive thank you to Wellness Warehouse for joining hands with us to transform our approach to food at Reforest Fest and teaching us how to better steward our bodies and nature. So in closing, how will you incorporate the “Live Life Well” philosophy from now on?

Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.