Sustainable Timber Takes the Stage at Reforest Fest 2023


MAY, 2023

By Lizzy Erwee & Pauline Bautista

After 12 years of Reforest Fest and a multitude of local and international performers having graced its floorboards, we finally laid our old stage to rest. Reforest Fest 2023 marks a new era for our events, and what better way to celebrate than with a new stage? Crafted in an eco-friendly manner, our long-term partner and eco-friend, The Pole Yard created and erected a new and improved stage made from sustainable timber for our recent Reforest Fest 2023. 

Greenpop’s sustainability values seep into the planning, prepping and execution of all our work. From our urban greening programs to our restoration events, the support of our community, donors and partners helps us pave the way for a greener tomorrow. More recently, we have also revamped the site of our annual Reforest Fest, with the addition of a Wellness Space, Craft and Kids area, and a bigger and taller concert stage – marking a new chapter in our largest forest restoration event of the year! 

The Pole Yard Reforest Fest 2023 Set Up

Photographer: Christain Khayo

Forming Partnerships For a Greener Tomorrow

The revitalization of Reforest Fest, particularly of our expanded concert stage, was supported by our long-term partner, The Pole Yard. The Pole Yard is a home-grown business based in the Western Cape, that specializes in home improvements and the manufacturing of outdoor timber. They supply wood that is FSC-certified, which ensures that the source of these wood products is harvested from responsibly-managed forests. With over 1.6 billion people depending on forests for timber, shelter, and other resources, the demand for wood is high and increases pressure on our forests. 

Sustainably-sourced timber preserves the land it is harvested from as forest areas are continuously being replenished through responsible forest management. As a result, these forests have an incredible impact on the surrounding biodiversity as it is actively protected and managed. Utilizing what is needed, and ensuring it is sustainably renewed.

The Pole Yard sign at stage

Photographer: Shari lee Thompson

The Pole Yard’s Directors Leeroy Deane, John Els and James Griffiths are committed to providing a service that supports local timber plantations and provides eco-friendly treatments for their timber and poles such as Tanalised E for the South African market. 

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The FSC is a remarkable sustainable forest management organisation and certification system that is aimed at protecting forests. This is done by “uniting citizens, businesses, governments, and NGOs under a common goal: protecting healthy, resilient forests for all, forever”. 

Their partnerships with different groups allow them to implement a variety of measures to benefit and sustain forest landscapes. Businesses such as The Pole Yard work alongside FSC to ensure their business can grow while simultaneously ensuring the growth and resilience of the forests they work in. 

This is done through FSC certification or permits. These certifications and permits have strict guidelines that businesses are required to follow to attain FSC Certification, depending on the business’s role in production. With criteria ranging from the management of forests to ethical labour and production guidelines. 

The Pole Yard’s Director Leeroy Deane elaborates on their use of FSC timber and the importance of choosing the right one:

The Pole Yard uses FSC timber from sustainably managed plantations relevant to the species pine and eucalyptus, however, there are some sustainable plantations that are not FSC-certified. There tends to be a lot of admin and expenses to keep a plantation FSC accredited making it difficult for plantation owners to follow through with FSC regulations. The Pole Yard, however, utilises locally grown pine and eucalyptus, the wood is then treated via various applications to ensure it is durable and able to last for years to come.”

– Leeroy Deanne, Director at The Pole Yard

The Pole Yard timber poles

FSC-certified wood is wood that supports zero deforestation, fair wages and work environment, biodiversity and community rights. The Pole Yard is an FSC-certified wood distributor and products specialist whose timber is environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable. 

Sustainably sourced timber is a hugely important key factor in ensuring the preservation of forests for future generations. The timber on its own can capture mass amounts of carbon dioxide and store carbon even once the wood has been manufactured into a structure, thus reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. More so, it is a highly renewable resource that will continue to provide when managed sustainably.

More often than not the impact and value associated with utilising timber from the sustainable plantation is not publicly addressed or spoken about. Raw materials like timber are sought after in areas such as housing. This is due to the high demand for affordable housing crafted with durable and efficient materials. Timber is seen as one of the most efficient and sustainable materials available in comparison to competing materials such as steel or concrete when it comes to housing, as it has the lowest carbon emission during the plantation periods. 

“If managed correctly and not in an ecologically sensitive microclimate, timber plantations can produce products from the same area of land for hundreds of years. There are far more details and benefits around this point if one digs in deeper. By using local plantation timber, say for example the deck we build for Reforest Fest, as opposed to imported timber from the Indonesian Islands or Brazil, which is a common practice for upmarket homes, it takes the pressure off of foreign plantation and transportation etc. It is a simple way to not directly contribute to deforestation.”

– Leeroy Deanne, Director at The Pole Yard

The Pole Yard at Reforest Fest 2023 tent set up

Photographer: Skyla Haley

Partnerships For a Greener Tomorrow

The Pole Yard and Greenpop have been partnered since 2019. The Pole Yard was originally approached and asked to lend a hand with the supply and donation of tree stakes. These were used to support saplings, which are then planted at a variety of schools around the Western Cape, through Greenpop’s Urban Greening programs. 

This ongoing and annual contribution originated between our Director, Misha Teasdale,  and one of The Pole Yard’s directors, James Griffiths. It has since blossomed into a relationship where their involvement extends into varying projects. One such example is the donation of hard landscaping products used for Greenpop’s eco-hubs and school plant days, which allow us to execute the work we do with ease and the appropriate tools needed. 

The Pole Yard has been an In-Kind Partner with Greenop since 2019. These In-Kind donations are used to support our projects and work by donating much-needed tools, resources and services. In-kind donations allow Greenpop to utilise a higher percentage of public donations to run and expand our projects. We are deeply grateful for the support we have received from The Pole Yard over the years.

“The decision to support organisations such as Greenpop stems from witnessing the effective work they have done over the years. We have seen how impactful it has been in assisting those who need it most. If more people offered their skills and assistance to matters such as the ones Greenpop does, it would minimize the efforts required by the community as a whole as we would simultaneously be contributing to the improvement of all environments.  We understand our position as contributors to the community and honour our responsibility to play it forward.”

– Leeroy Deanne, Director at The Pole Yard

The Pole Yard workshop at stage

Photographer: Michael O’Kennedy

Setting the Stage for Sustainability

The relationship that Greenpop has built with The Pole Yard over the years, has helped us create spaces of great importance. From their valuable contribution to maintaining our eco-hub, donations to plant days and our Reforest Festival!

They alongside Hemporium helped create a vibrant, bold and luring stage for our recent Reforest Fest 2023 which saw live performances from artists such as Jeremy Loops, Majozi and other local and international musicians. The stage was built to complement our ever-growing community at the festival which meant it had to be bigger and better than the previous year and with no doubt, The Pole Yard outdid themselves once again!

The Pole Yard people at stage

Photographer: Shari lee Thompson

Our beautiful stage was crafted from FSC-certified timber, ensuring the mindset of sustainability and eco-friendly practices is continually amplified in everything we do. Delicately crafted and moulded to match our vision, the stage took its form with a large wooden deck for artists to move, express and perform, and was blocked off with organic-looking bannisters and natural stage walls, fitting in all too seamlessly.

Their efforts to set the stage for sustainability ventures further than the Reforest Fest stage and into their new business venture. The Pole Yard is a proud Tanalised- E user. An eco-friendly high-pressure treatment of timber that is made from Copper Azole to ensure the long-term prevention of wood rot and decay, termites and wood borers. More so it is resistant to factors such as mould, fungus, insects and heavy weather conditions. 

One of our Family Food Gardens partners Ben Getz from Urban Harvest, an urban food gardener and producer is someone whose desire for a more eco-friendly treatment for his timber was brought to the attention of The Pole Yard. Ben’s need for Tanalised-E was for the treatment of his raised veggie beds that are used for a variety of community upliftment projects surrounding food production.

The Pole Yard has implemented this step towards a more sustainable future for its business and it has and will continue to lead to new partnerships and growth for the business. 

“Tan E treatment of timber refers to the technique of impregnating the wood with a preservative that allows the wood to stay strong and durable for extended periods. One of the reasons we invested in providing this eco-friendly product was due to the high demand from our customers.” – Leeroy Deanne, Director at The Pole Yard

The Pole Yard Tan-E poles

The Pole Yard plays a valued role in Greenpops and others’ ventures and aids in helping us achieve the work we do. Their commitment to the environment in the form of their wood selection and treatment of timber is one we will forever admire. As they grow and introduce more environmentally-friendly aspects into their business and help individuals, and businesses make the shift to more sustainable timber choices, we hope to continue to form a part of that journey.

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