Joining Hands For a Greener Tomorrow at Reforest Fest 2024

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APRIL, 2024

By Nick Findlay & Jessie Leverzencie

This year, we returned to the beautiful Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat for an Easter Weekend full of trees, music, wholesome food, friends, and family. Over 5000 trees were planted in the magical Uilenkraal Valley, in pristine, sunny conditions. Talks were attended, workshops were participated in, delicious feasts were eaten, and botanical drinks were enjoyed, all the while exquisite music and inspiring conversations filled the air. Reforest Fest 2024 went above and beyond our expectations! Dive into our highlights below:
Reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Russel Nel

Really an amazing experience, felt so connected – connected to the earth, connected to food, connected to the beautiful colourful delightful people, connected to music. It felt like a constant flow of enriching and refreshing energy was swirling effortlessly throughout the space. Definitely coming back, definitely recommending it to others.

 

-Ruth, Reforest Fest crew member

The poem below was written by one of our Reforest Fest crew members, Niahm Murray. Thank you Niahm for your beautiful words.

Reforest Fest 2024

Impact at a Glance:

  • 5000 indigenous trees were planted!
  • 1200 activists, team members, facilitators, musicians, partners, and guest speakers came together to get active for the planet.
  • 14 local & international musical artists performed.
  • 62 talks, workshops, and other activities were attended.
  • 11,500+ plant-based meals were served.
  • 419 kg of waste was diverted from landfill and sent to be recycled.
  • 527 kg of food waste was fed to pigs.
  • 1652 kg of humanure to be processed!
  • 45 students, sponsored learners, and subsidised ticketholders joined us.
  • 1430 km were cycled to the event.
  • 53 incredible partners were involved.
Reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Christian Khayo

Nestled In a Valley Between Milkwood Forests and Rolling Green Hills

Green fields, ancient forests, and vibrant fynbos once again embraced the home of Reforest Fest. The luscious grounds of Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat offered an ideal canvas for the festival, boasting an abundance of interwoven paths leading to jaw-dropping landscapes, a rich biodiversity of mesmerising fauna and flora, a refreshing swimming oasis complemented by an inviting sauna, and ample space for attendees to indulge in their interests.

Festivalgoers descended in droves on Friday, filling the grounds with cars of all shapes and sizes, including a magical olive-green sleeper-bakkie named Tinkerbelle. Minimising our footprint is often easier said than done; at Reforest Fest, we urge everyone to share the journey by carpooling or utilising the shuttle provided by Nomad Africa Tours & Safaris. This ethos was echoed by an epic group of cyclists, on a mission to reduce emissions, who collectively pedalled 1430km to the event!

Reforest Fest 2024

Our wonderful reforest Fest 2024 crew! Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

A Big Hoop Hoop Hooray For Our Greenpop Crew!

Reforest Fest 2024 was facilitated and nurtured by a team of over 150 active citizens and accommodated just over 1200 eager festival-goers who enthusiastically enjoyed the many delights of the festival without end.

Various components of the festival were maintained and built from the ground up by the hands of our wonderful crew who worked tirelessly and vigorously to make this year’s Easter Weekend the soulful, nourishing experience that it was. A massive thank you to our incredible team, a whopping 66% of which were dedicated volunteers, who worked around the clock to help us bring Reforest Fest to life. We owe it all to our big family of Greenpopers.

The team’s work was fuelled by a selection of predominantly vegan and vegetarian meals over the course of the weekend and we’d like to thank OK Foods, Happy Earth People, Pesto Princess, Ou Meul Bakkery, Live Kindly Collective, and Eureka Mills for providing both nutritious and delicious foods to keep our energy sustained and stomachs satisfied.

Reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Russel Nel

The Power of Community Has No Bounds!

Reforest Fest saw a whopping 1200 activists, team members, facilitators, musicians, partners, and guest speakers join hands together to get active for the planet. People of all ages, walks of life, cultures and diverse backgrounds came together at the event, a true testament to the power of community!

Khashana Travel, a local travel agency dedicated to promoting eco-tourism across the African continent, facilitated the participation of individuals from underserved communities at the event. Among the groups who joined us were the BRAVE Girls, an organisation fostering environmental awareness and empowerment amongst girls from Mitchell’s Plain. They also supported bringing Warongx one of our headline acts from Khayelitsha and October Sky, helping Reforest Fest be more inclusive of artists from diverse backgrounds who may not ordinarily be able to perform at such an event. Bridges for Music, an organisation empowering youth in underserved communities through programs focused on creative entrepreneurship, wellness, and music, had two students join us for a leadership programme as Artist Liaison assistants throughout the weekend.

The groups immersed themselves in a weekend filled with eco-friendly activities, workshops, and tree planting, gaining insights into the potential of individual actions for conservation.

The festival reinforced my appreciation for nature’s beauty and highlighted the urgency of environmental conservation. It strengthened my commitment to being a steward of the environment. One lesson I’m leaving the festival with is the importance of taking action, no matter how small, to protect and preserve our natural world.
 
-Qondea Avril Mkansi, lead singer, October Sky

Photographers: Shari Lee Thompson, Russel Nel, Christian Khayo

Planting 5000 trees in Africa’s Southernmost Forest

The heart of our weekend gathering undoubtedly centred around the planting of 5000 trees! Festivalgoers of all ages joined forces, brandishing colourfully decorated spades, to take action for the environment.

Our planting day commenced with the enthusiastic gathering of kids and parents, known as the yellow team, at the main stage just after 7 am. They kicked off with a lively dance and connection energizer led by Secret Sunrise Cape Town. Vibrant ribbons and flags mirrored the colourful sunrise as everyone prepared for the first planting. Laughter, drumbeats, and cheers filled the air as participants eagerly marched to the planting site.

This year, our planting sites differed from previous years, nestled in valleys, on slopes, or alongside babbling brooks Planters marveled at the natural beauty of the lush forest of the Uilenkraal Valley. Team cheers echoed, spades reverberated against the soil, and jubilation ensued as trees found their new homes.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who joined us in planting and showcasing their creativity in the “Best Dressed Spade” competition with Save a Fishie. We extend gratitude to our planting facilitators, including Matthew Koehorst from Six Kingdoms, for their expertise and to Francoise Krige and the team from Platbos Forest Reserve for their guidance, and integral role on the ground. A special thank you also to Driven by Nature Foundation and Burmar Plant Hire for their assistance with transportation before and after the planting day.

Reforest Fest 2024 Cape Leopard

Tap the image above to watch this Cape Leopard sighting. Video: Callum Evans 

Expanding Our Forest Restoration Efforts & Spotting a Cape Leopard!

The trees planted at Reforest Fest will soon become a thriving part of a forest ecosystem, providing habitats, regulating local climates, and producing invaluable oxygen. Together, we’re not just planting trees; we are sowing the seeds for a greener, more sustainable future.

The Uilenkraal Valley Restoration Project aims to restore 45 ha of degraded forest patches through alien vegetation management, natural regeneration management, and, where needed, active tree planting. Since 2011, we have planted over 150,000 indigenous trees in this project at the  Platbos Forest Reserve, Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat, Blomerus and Kleinbos Farm!

In a surprise sighting, event attendee and photographer Callum Evans, captured footage of a Cape Leopard in the milkwood forest adjacent to Bodhi Khaya. These elusive creatures are as beautiful as they are shy, and a sighting such as this was an extraordinary event that we are thrilled Callum captured and shared. This sighting is a true testament to the importance of the restoration work we are doing with our partners in the area. Watch the full video here

The Western Cape Government and Overstrand Municipality have supported us in championing vital initiatives like our project in the Uilenkraal Valley. As a result of their steadfast support, we are able to expand our reforestation efforts, combatting deforestation, and preserving biodiversity in the Western Cape and beyond!

Photographers: Skyla Haley, Shari Lee Thompson

Fuelling Up After A Successful Plant Day

The planting snack following the tree planting was a true delight. Planters found themselves in a clearing with a glistening dam as the backdrop (which a few also enjoyed a refreshing dip in). Planters lined up for a trestle full of snacks, including popcorn from AGT Foods Africa, chocolate oat milk and nut butter sarmies from ButtaNutt, refreshing BOS Tea, Santa Anna’s chips & salsa, faux chicken nuggets from Live Kindly Collective, crisp apples from The Valley Farms and crunchy biscuits and rusks from Eureka Mills

The spread provided the necessary fuel, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces as snacks were shared over conversation and joint jubilation after a successful day of planting.

Reforest Fest 2024

Glittering solar lights from Litehouse seen as Reforest Fest. Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Hemp Textiles and Solar Powered Lights Adorned The Festival Site

The festival’s creative decor and aesthetic played a crucial role in setting the tone for sustainability. The main Reforest Fest entrance archway was adorned with hemp textiles from Hemporium and flower-like chandeliers hung from the tent ceiling, crafted from hemp fabric and twigs. The festival grounds glittered with solar-powered fairy lights, lanterns and strings of bulbs from Litehouse South Africa, creating an enchanting ambience across the weekend.

Reforest Fest’s decor exuded rustic charm while aligning with its zero-waste ethos. Each element of the decor served as a reminder of the festival’s commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible consumption. The vibrant decor not only enhanced the event but also welcomed attendees into a world of eco-friendly beauty. Every piece was lovingly repurposed, transforming potential waste into charming accents that perfectly complemented the festival’s natural setting. Learn all about how we embraced the power of hemp at this year’s event here.

Reforest Fest 2024

Hemp textiles adorned our entrance archway at Reforest Fest. Photograph: Shari Lee Thompson

From recycled installations to biodegradable Better Earth cleaning products, every element was chosen with care to minimise our environmental footprint and promote a sense of connection with the world around us.

Reforest Fest 2024

Photographers: Shari Lee Thompson

Eco-Conscious Suds and a Reminder of the Importance of Water

Water insecurity is an issue that faces people across South Africa, Africa and the globe. For those of us fortunate enough to have easy access to running water, the simple act of turning a tap on is often done without a second thought.

We were fortunate to be joined by the amazing team from Viva con Agua and their Nina Manzi mobile shower facilities at Reforest Fest. The Nina Manzi showers provide mobile sanitation facilities for homeless individuals across Cape Town. Throughout the weekend, our festivalgoers enjoyed these showers, which proved to be a valuable addition to our festival grounds. Additionally, participants had the opportunity to learn about water inequalities, raising awareness around water insecurity and reminding us that access to water is a fundamental human right.

At the wash stations, constructed by The Pole Yard, and within the sanitation facilities, Hemporium soaps were a welcome addition, demonstrating how even soapy suds can be eco-friendly. The water at the event was sourced from local springs and fed back into the wetland ecosystem. It was for this reason that any and all soaps and detergents used at the event were eco-friendly and biodegradable, to ensure that the delicate balance of the water systems used was preserved and protected.

Photographers: Shari Lee Thompson, Christian Khayo

Treading Lightly 

Every aspect of Reforest Fest was meticulously curated with sustainability in mind, striving to minimise waste and maximise impact. Fostering a sense of community, Reforest Fest became a melting pot of diverse backgrounds and shared visions for a cleaner, greener world. MINI South Africa and PETCO added value to the Reforest Fest journey by assisting us in achieving our zero-waste goal through recycling and creative waste stations at the event.

From interactive waste resource play, upcycled art stations, and a recycling depot facilitated by our Waste Management Team, to the clear plastic bags provided by PETCO, collecting and sorting our waste was made easier than ever. Guided by practical steps from waste management expert Jen Rodwell, attendees embarked on a journey of learning, transforming, and giving everyday waste items new life! Old clothes became banners, glass bottles turned into decorations, plastic was woven into mats, and plastic bottles were repurposed into soap dishes. New life was breathed into otherwise discarded items, demonstrating the possibilities when we think outside the box and let our creativity and innovation flow.

The vendors at Reforest Fest also played a pivotal role in the zero-waste movement by using recyclable materials and encouraging attendees to minimise waste. As a result, we were able to divert approximately 491kg (Half a tonne!) of well-sorted recyclables from landfills, feed 527kg of food waste to pigs, and process 1652 kg of humanure, setting a new record for sustainability at the festival.

A massive thank you to our expert facilitators, MINI South Africa, for joining us on this mission, as well as to PETCO for their invaluable support in making this possible. Read more about how we made our zero-waste vision for Reforest Fest a reality here and dive into some tips you can adopt to go zero-waste today!

Reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

MINI SA Big Love Stage

At this year’s Reforest Fest, MINI South Africa partnered with Greenpop to introduce their Big Love Stage at Reforest Fest, a platform dedicated to inspiring positive change through discourse and informative talks. The MINI Electric Collective was inspired by a study suggesting that it only takes 3.5% of the population to effect meaningful change. In the face of global environmental challenges, it’s easy to feel small and insignificant, but this campaign serves as a reminder that WE can make a difference! The Electric Collective fosters community, synergy, and togetherness, giving voice to those who seek change and mobilising action through knowledge sharing and active participation.

The educational discussion took place on Sunday morning of the festival and featured four influential environmentalists who shared valuable insights into their respective fields, stories of hopeful discoveries and developments, and engaged with the crowd on topics such as the circular economy, water scarcity and water rights issues, sustainable foraging, and divesting from fossil fuels. It was a truly motivational start to Easter Sunday!

The stage was moderated by Greenpop Co-Founder, Jeremy Loops, and included talks from Roushanna Gray from Veld & Sea, Phumelele Muthali from Viva con Agua, Gift Lubele from Kudoti, and Stephen Horn from Clean Creatives South Africa.

Guests were inspired as each speaker shared their expertise and personal experiences, making for an informative series of sessions that sparked conversation long after it had ended. Read more about the exciting insights shared at the Big Love Stage here.

Photographers: Shari Lee Thomspon, Christian Khayo

Unique Food Experiences:

Foraged Tapas Feast and Fynbos Flower Crown Making With Veld & Sea

The Veld & Sea Foraged Tapas Feast and fynbos flower crown making at Reforest Fest unfolded like a whimsical dream. Set against a backdrop of mountains and swaying trees, the atmosphere was perfect for an afternoon of pure delight. Laughter and conversation filled the air, mingling with lively melodies of music, infusing the surroundings with a sense of fun and adventure.

Guests crafted vibrant flower crowns using foraged fynbos from the local surrounds, while Foraged Feast ticket holders were drawn to the enchanting table setup, where colourful presentations and tantalising aromas beckoned them to explore.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Roushanna Gray and her team from Veld & Sea for curating such a remarkable experience. Your dedication to showcasing the beauty of nature through sustainable foraging has left us in awe. A special thank you as well to Juniper Moon Gin for providing the delicious gin that attendees enjoyed with the experience. 

Here’s to many more unforgettable moments shared in the embrace of nature’s bounty. 

Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Sunday Harvest Feast 

We celebrated the flavours of the Overberg’s local & seasonal produce at Reforest Fest with Kolossal Hospitality. Chef Bridget Bartelmann, joined us for the second consecutive year at Reforest Fest, with a feast of spoils at the Sunday Harvest Feast. The spread celebrated the flavours of the surrounding Overberg Region, with ingredients sourced from local farms in the area, Eggcellent Eggs, Klein River Cheese, Fauxmage Dairy-Free Cheese, and Organic Brunch. Collaborating with local farms was a key objective for our event, aimed at raising awareness about local and seasonal produce, and supporting the efforts of local businesses in the area.

Guests lined up for the buffet, plates piling with a variety of delectable foods, from falafels, pies, cheeses, lush salads, brownies, honeycomb, chocolate mousse pots and lots more! The feast was enjoyed with refreshing wines from  Lubanzi Wines, Van Hunks Drinks, Bosman Wines, and Boland Cellar, as well as Fitch & Leedes Mixers and Tea of Life Kombucha for those who preferred non-alcoholic beverages. Guests also had the opportunity to indulge in a selection of local honey from the Overberg Honey Company, providing a delightfully sweet conclusion to the spread.

Photographers: Shari Lee Thompson, Christian Khayo, Jessie Leverzencie

Celebrating Wines In the Wild

WWF South Africa’s Conservation Wine Tent seamlessly blended sustainability with tasting experiences, garnering an overwhelmingly positive reception during its three tasting sessions across the weekend. Enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and casual sippers alike congregated to indulge in some of the most sustainably and ethically produced wines from the Western Cape. The Wines in the Wild, Skipskop Wines, Boland Cellar, Strandveld Vineyards, Lubanzi Wine, Van Hunks Drinks, and Bosman Wines showcased their finest reds, whites, and blends, sparking excited conversations about each flavour profile and the future of winemaking in South Africa.

These experiences consisted of three tastings: a Conservation Wine tasting at the Conservation Wine Tent, a tasting at the Sunday Harvest Feast (mentioned above), and one final chocolate, honey & wine pairing to conclude the delectable experience. These bespoke tastings allowed festivalgoers to engage with the wines on offer, chat with the wine-makers present, and tantalise their tastebuds with the delicious elixirs, learning more about the power of sustainable wine-making and the power of eco-conscious consumer choices. The carefully curated wine, honey and chocolate pairings allowed festivalgoers to take their Reforest Fest tasting experiences to the next level. With locally sourced, raw honey courtesy of the Overberg Honey Company and decadent dark chocolates from Wellness Warehouse, the tasting was a flavour explosion and a wonderful way to wind down after a busy weekend of planting and dancing. 

We want to thank WWF South Africa for their integral role in supporting our conservation wine initiative – Wines in the Wild, with the roster of exceptional winemakers, Skipskop Wines, Boland Cellar, Strandveld Vineyards, Lubanzi Wine, Van Hunks Drinks, and Bosman Wines who shared their delicious wines with us at Reforest Fest. A special as well to the Overberg Honey Company and Wellness Warehouse for putting the cherry on top of the tasting experience and tantalising our tastebuds further. Read more about the Wines in the Wines experiences at Reforest Fest and dive into the future of sustainable winefarming in the Western Cape (and beyond) here.

Reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Christian Khayo

Wellness Warehouse Food Village 

We teamed up with Wellness Warehouse to introduce a fresh concept to this year’s event, embracing the wellness ethos of ‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine.’ This approach emphasised the importance of whole, seasonal, and locally-sourced foods, while also considering the environmental impact of food consumption. Through this, we aimed to raise awareness and encourage mindfulness about how our food choices extend beyond what we put on our plates.

This 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. One such vendor was ButtaNutt, whose delectable nut butters were enjoyed at their toast bar, slathered on thick-cut slices of toasted bread and topped with banana, coconut flakes and seeds. 

Reforest fest 2024

Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Taste buds were tickled with a host of unique and memorable food experiences at the Wellness Food Village. These included 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 festival goers new recipes to switch up their next home-cooked meal.

reforest Fest 2024

Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Grooving Into the Night – Live Music on our Hemp Stage

Reforest Fest 2024 showcased a selection of incredibly talented local acts including bands, DJs and performers who spoiled us with unforgettable moments on the dancefloor. The Hemp Stage structure, which was the first of its kind at Reforest Fest 2023, was generously sponsored by Hemporium, The Pole Yard, Bains and Build It.

A magnificent blend of genres resonated from the festival’s main Hemp Stage throughout the weekend, with enthralling performances by Jeremy Loops and his band, afro-pop locals Warongx, the powerful groove of AshWeeta, the captivating afro-rock of October Sky, and the bouncy brass-filled Nomadic Orchestra to name a few. The crowd danced into the night, with DJs like our very own Greenpop co-founder, Misha Teasdale, as his alias DJ Crash Love, and a far away Secret Stage that let the party people carry on into the night. The excellent performances were complimented by the excellent sound engineering courtesy of Cape Audio College

reforest fest 2024

Photographer: Skyla Haley

Cheers and Laughter at our Festival Bar

Our Reforest Fest bar area was alive with chatter and cheers as both new and familiar faces mingled together over a variety of delicious drinks. Our expert bar crew flipped bottles and curated expert mixes, as glasses clinked and ice blocks cracked.  

A heartfelt thank you extends to Heineken, Bain’s Whisky, Fitch & Leedes Mixers, BOS, Juniper Moon Gin, Jack Black Beer, Tea of Life Kombucha, Lubanzi Wines and Leonista for making it the best bar yet!

reforest fest 2024

Photographer: Skyla Haley

All-Age Amusements

ButtaNutt Adult Treasure Hunt

Following last year’s Treasure Hunt, we returned with a different spin on this year’s hunt, making it into an amazing race-esque experience that saw participants dashing across sites, shouting passwords and wracking their brains to unravel the secrets of the riddles. 

Crafting this adventure was a journey filled with creativity and teamwork, as we wove mystery into every riddle. From the whispered secrets amongst ancient valleys to the murmurs of the winding stream, each clue held a key, a password unlocking the gateway to the next point of exploration.

It was heartwarming to witness participants come together, competing and dashing around the site, trying to find the treasure at the end of the maze and sharing in the joy of adventure.

A massive thank you to ButtaNutt, Hemporium, Litehouse, Happy Earth People, and Juniper Moon Gin for sponsoring the prizes for this treasure hunt, and to everyone who came along for the amazing race!

reforest fest 2024

Photographer: Skyla Haley

Kiddies Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Sunday treasures were not exclusive to our adult festival goers, however. We embraced tradition along with Wellness Warehouse and orchestrated a riveting Sunday morning Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddos, who ducked and dove through the nooks and crannies of Bodhi Khaya’s Labyrinth to get their hands on a Wellness Warehouse chocolate for an early morning dessert. 

Friendships were forged and bonds were built as hunters came together to ensure that their companions walked away with a prize. Smiles were abundant as the Easter festivities were thoroughly relished and treats were earned, leaving all of our hearts warm after an already nourishing weekend.

Reforest Fest 2025

Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Thank You For Being a Part of the Magic!

Our hearts are warm and full as we look back on all of the incredible memories made with all of you at this year’s restoration celebration! Thank you for joining us and getting your hands dirty, and for being a part of our community. A massive thank you to our incredible sponsors and partners, without whom this event would not have been possible. We look forward to next year’s event! 

Reforest Fest 2025 | Celebrating the Age of Restoration

18-21 April 2025 (Easter Weekend) | Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat.

“Live Life Well” From the Inside Out

“Live Life Well” From the Inside Out

“Live Life Well.” What images does this phrase bring up in your head? Greenpop and Wellness Warehouse revamped Reforest Fest’s Food Village with a focus on sustainable, ethical, local, and seasonal produce.

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