Restore & Reconnect at Reforest Fest 2022
By Jessie Leverzencie
And just like that, the 11th annual Reforest Fest has come to an end, and what a fantastic festival it was getting active, not anxious for the planet.
5064 trees are officially in the ground at Bodhi Khaya — a big thank you to everyone who participated, as well as all of our sponsors and partners — we could not have done it without you!
Together, a group of active citizens built a restoration festival!
Reforest Fest took place at Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat in the Overberg Region over the weekend of 1 – 3 April 2022. The Greenpop team, along with a group of volunteers, worked tirelessly in the week leading up to Reforest Fest, to transform the space into a magical festival escape. Some of the volunteers were dropped off by Nomad Africa Adventure Tours, who also provided tents that housed our team during their stay at Bodhi Khaya.
The team worked hard from dusk until dawn, constructing some of the main infrastructure, including the welcome entryway arch (designed by team members Elisabeth and Jonathan), the fire pit, compost toilets, and wooden showers for the main camping areas were built, as well as the Shop Zero wash-up station, which was constructed from scratch with two basins and a water connection that linked to spring water. The stage area was also constructed using wooden pallets from Build it Gansbaai, who sponsored R10,000 in building supplies for our build efforts.
The Greenpop Programmes team getting ready to plant thousands of trees. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
Feeding hungry Greenpoppers, is hard work!
To keep us fueled up for the build and our tummies happy, our kitchen team whipped up the most delicious plant-based meals.
It’s not a Greenpop event, without copious amounts of our favourite legume – chickpeas! Pesto Princess spoiled us with a selection of hummus, pesto, and their fresh, ready-made sauces. AGT Foods Africa, supplied us with the most amazing selection of dried legumes and pulses.
We were treated to delicious fresh ingredients and groceries from OK Foods in Gansbaai. Our breakfasts were taken to the next level with an array of delicious nut milks and nut butter spreads from ButtaNutt as well as superfood protein powders, cacao nibs & goji berries to top it all off from Soaring Free. And to beat those caffeine cravings, Arise Coffee, Greenpop’s very own coffee blend that plants trees for every 3kg sold, kept our cups filled at the Wellness Cafe, serving up a delight of Wellness Warehouse tea’s and accompaniments too.
Totalling approximately 4250 meals served over the weekend, our food court highlighted LiveKindly brands of plant-based meat alternatives, adding an interesting Oumph! veggie “
The team created fun chalkboard tables to doodle whilst you eat, made from pallets gifted by Burma Plant Hire.
Greenpop’s Head of Programmes, Zoë Gauld-Angelucci, enjoying a delicious plant-based breakfast. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
The event kicked off with a line-up of exciting activities!
Participants arrived at Bodhi Khaya on Friday, 1st April, and after settling into their camping spots, they had the chance to explore the beautiful surroundings. It’s a festival for everyone. For the young creatives, the playground area was a kids’ haven of fun, which included lantern making, a lesson on earth skills and a youth connect workshop, through music and dance. Twyg Magazine hosted a Handmade Activation Station and Greenpop’s Deon Louw and Bongile Galo hosted a workshop teaching kids how to make seed bombs! The Two Oceans Aquarium also kept the kids entertained with an educational puppet show.
For participants wanting to reconnect with their inner child, The Psychedelic Theatre hosted a hula hooping and poi play session at the bonfire area. Aron Halevi, musician and co-founder of Freshlyground, hosted a boom whacker workshop for participants of all ages to let loose and have fun! The Psychedelic Theatre also hosted an enchanting lantern ceremony alongside a song circle by Alicat Cowley and Brock Pollock. The lantern ceremony was later followed by a fire show by The Psychedelic Theatre performers, which captivated participants as the flames danced and shot up, lighting up the night air.
For those seeking more tranquil activities, there were a variety of yoga and meditation classes throughout the weekend, which allowed participants to unwind and refresh surrounded by the tranquil natural beauty at Bodhi Khaya. Participants also got the chance to go on a guided forest walk with Platbos Forest custodian Francois Krige and learn all about Africa’s southernmost forest. Nathan Mainguard also hosted an Ubuntu Breath, Heart Songs & Tribe Sharing session.
The Wellness Women’s Tent was a new addition to our Reforest Fest lineup. Hosted by Wellness Warehouse, the tent included an array of exciting activities for women, from an opening circle with Olivia Badach and a workshop on the Infradian Rhythm with Beryn Daniel, from Soaring Free. The tent hosted various talks, including Ayala Katz who spoke about her Peace Tree Pilgrimage to Reforest Fest, walking from Genadendal to the event! Wellness Warehouse’s own Sonja Hindly also hosted a beautiful talk on Rewilding the Feminine.
The Wellness Area also had various merch stalls, where people could buy handmade jewellery from Studio Karakal, eco-friendly goodies from Save a Fishie and Shop Zero, tinctures from Aether Apothecary, and lots more!
For those wishing to learn learn more about topics of health and the environment, Roxanne Joubert (Lady of the Herbs) hosted a workshop on Herbalism, and Scone Malone, from MycoMinded, took participants on a guided walk to learn all about the fascinating world of fungi. Carl Lindeman explored Our Place in the Milky Way inviting guests to look at the night sky through a hi-powered telescope, and Peter Daniel from Soaring Free, hosted a demo on gut health.
Scone Malone, from MycoMinded, hosts a workshop about mushrooms and the art of mycology! Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
Conservation and wine?
WWF South Africa, in collaboration with Lomond Wines, Spier, Lost Boy, and Boland Cellar, hosted the Conservation Wine Tent at Reforest Fest. Each of these wineries was specifically selected, due to their positive environmental impact and goal to actively conserve the environment through all that they do. Reforest Fest participants got the chance to sip on glasses of wine with the knowledge and assurance that the wineries behind each grape were green at heart. As Boland Cellar’s Anneen Du Toit says, “Given the increased pressure on our natural resources and biodiversity, we have a responsibility to get involved and take ownership of ethical farming practices and sustainability. Making wine is just the vehicle we use to support and educate consumers on reforestation.”
To further educate us on how wineries can positively impact the environment, WWF South Africa hosted a talk about South African wineries and their role in conservation. “Really, what we are trying to drive is regenerative agriculture, so restoring ecosystems, putting back in more than you take out. And capturing the power of the individual to make the right choices, given all the information,” says Shelley Fuller from WWF South Africa.
Read more about it here.
Some of our guests sipping on wine crafted with conservation in mind. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
Over 700 participants helped us plant 5064 trees!
Our planting day started with a ‘Wake Up, Shake Up’ with Nicola Jackman from the UPliftment Programme and Alicat Owen. Over 700 participants came forth with their team colours, some even sporting fun attire, from tutus and hats to Greenpop’s Forest Restoration Manager Michiel, who donned a full-on praying mantis costume in honour of his team’s colour – green.
The energy levels were high as planters made their way to the planting site. Each team then got a demo from their respective team facilitators, where we learned all about Francois Krige’s, from Platbos Forest’s, method for planting a tree, which you can watch here. And then the tree planting began, there was much digging, much mulching, many dirty fingernails, and a whole ton of getting active, not anxious for the environment. Spirits were kept high as live music was played, songs were sung and drums echoed around the planting site.
We planted 5064 trees! Isn’t that TREEmendous?
Thanks so much to the team of medics from the University of Stellenbosch Medical Faculty who made sure we were well equipped for accidents or injuries during the weekend.
Our hardworking tree planters! Image Credit: Nur Hazwani Hamid
A tree planting tea party filled with treats and delights!
Halfway through and 2000 trees down, participants were led to a surprise Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, where delicious treats awaited!
Our hardworking planters were treated to ice cold BOS Ice Tea and delicious peanut butter sandwiches made with bread made from Eureka Mills flour at Ou Meul Stanford and filled with ButtaNutt nut butter spreads. There were hundredss of apples from Valley Farm, rusks and biscuits from Eureka Mills, and delicious snacks from Soaring Free Superfoods.
The cherry on top of the Mad Hatters Tea Party was The Psychedelic Theatre, which provided entertainment with some colourful characters the kids couldn’t get enough of!
Delicious treats and snacks for our tree planters at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
We enjoyed music from some of the finest local and international musicians!
Each evening, the Bain’s Symphony Stage was graced by a fantastic lineup of both South African and international musicians. Artists included Brock Pollock, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from Los Angeles, California; Reuben Nature, an explorer, nomad, naturalist and musician in equal measure; Jacana, a multi-instrumental three-piece band from the Overberg, Divine Mahara, the winner of Zim’s Got Talent; SINO, a DJ and model, and Greenpop’s very own, Misha Teasdale took to the stage as DJ Crash Love.
Our Saturday line-up was headlined by Hot Water and The One Who Sings (Zolani Mahola). A surprise awaited audiences when Hot Water invited Aron and Zolani to the stage to perform Freshlyground’s 2000s hit, Doo Be Doo. This was then followed by a surprise performance from Greenpop Co-Founder, Jeremy Loops, who joined Hot Water on stage for a song. A massive thank you to Cape Audio College for the sound equipment and fantastic production team, without which the magic we witnessed on stage would not have been possible.
The Bain’s Whisky Bar area, adjacent to the stage was a refreshment station for anyone looking for a glass of Bains Whisky, or their signature cocktail – the leopard and lime! Read more about our collaboration with Bain’s here.
A very special competition winner from our Beers & Ballo competition won a case of Jack Black Beer, and 2 pairs of Ballo sunnies – isn’t that TREEmendous!
Hot Water light up the Bain’s Symphony Stage at Reforest Fest 2022. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
The GLFx Speaker Stage was a space to learn and engage!
GLFx Cape Town forms a part of the GLFx Community, an initiative of the Global Landscapes Forum. GLFx Cape Town is made up of a consortium of local organisations that work across diverse landscapes, multiple communities and a range of specialisations and disciplines. The chapter intends to offer a holistic and well-coordinated programme of events and project activities, while promoting collaboration in the sector locally, amplifying the work of existing organisations and leveraging established audiences and networks.
The GLFx Speaker Stage, a TEDx style speaker platform, took place at the Bain’s Symphony Stage, on Sunday morning at Reforest Fest. Participants got the chance to hear talks on conservation from some conservation heroes. Kasper Paur from Oceaneers shared a talk on ‘Ocean Health and Food Choices’, Hombakazi Mercy Nqandeka from Viva Con Agua South Africa shared a talk about Food Equity and Agriculture and Rosie Mclean shared some ‘Poetry in Landscapes’. Tasneem Karodia from Mzansi Meat told us more about ‘Cultivated Meat’. And lastly, we learned about ‘Renegerative Farming’ from Gray Maguire at Climate Neutral Group.
Kaspar Paur, founder of Oceaneers, talks about Ocean Health on the GLFxCapeTown Stage. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
Keep it clean, and #dontbetrashy
Treading lightly is very important to us. So at this year’s Reforest Fest, Greenpop along with CapeNature, Compost Cyclers and PETCO aimed to reduce our waste as much as possible! Our Zero Waste Festival Guide, sent to festival attendees before the event, outlined key steps participants could take in order to be waste-free warriors.
#dontbetrashy is the name of CapeNature’s campaign towards less waste and more recycling across the Western Cape. In honour of this campaign, they also funded 10 youth from the local community to join us at Reforest Fest, to learn more about sustainability, living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, and reforestation.
The Compost Cyclers team taught us all about the importance of recycling and how to properly do so, as well as how to make eco-bricks (i.e. plastic bottles that are filled with small bits of plastic and other recycling materials later compacted and used for building).
In addition, we set up handwashing stations and dishwashing stations with the support from Shop Zero and Better Earth – longstanding partners in eco-cleaning. And our compost loo’s were stocked with only the best from Essential Green Toilet Paper.
ECO officers, Anni and Ruan, from Green Room Environmental Services, helped us maintain an eco-friendly festival and helped us ensure we tread lightly during the fest.
A group of youth from the local community joined us at Reforest Fest as part of CapeNature’s #DontBeTrashy campaign. Image Credit: Ashleigh De Villiers
With long-term partnerships, our roots grow deep!
Greenpop has been working in the Uilenkraal Valley for the past 10 years and has planted over 90,000 trees in the area, but we couldn’t have done it without amazing partners.
The Platbos Forest Reserve invited us to collaborate on the restoration of Platbos Forest in 2011. In 2020, with their support, we expanded our forest restoration project to neighbouring Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat.
Thank you, you are TREEmendous!
Greenpop would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in making Reforest Fest possible. To all of the volunteers, participants and tree planters, vendors, musicians and performers, sponsors and partners. We cannot wait to party for the planet with you again soon!
Our next event is the Eden Festival of Action, which will be held from the 25th of September 2022 to the 9th of October 2022 at Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge.
Find out more and book tickets here.
Scientists have found that trees communicate in various ways, one of them being fascinating fungal networks below the earth.
For this year’s Women’s Day in South Africa, we want to introduce a woman in sustainability who inspires us daily. After earning a Master’s degree in Development Studies, she joined Greenpop in 2014. When she is not heading up programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa, you can find her spending time with her family, tending to her garden, practising Italian, and searching for the best pizza in the Mother City. Get to know Zoë Gauld-Angelucci!
World Environment Day is organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and has been held annually since 1974. The goal of the day of action is to promote environmental awareness and draw attention to crucial concerns around our planet’s survival, that require active engagement and commitment. Today, the day represents one of the largest global platforms for environmental action, with millions of participants from around the world. Each World Environment Day focuses on a specific issue that reflects urgent problems and challenges of our time, such as climate change, biodiversity loss or pollution.
Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.