Shifting Perspectives On the Power of Hemp


MAY, 2024

By Zotha Makwakwa & Jessie Leverzencie

The dust has settled, the sound of music has died down, and new seedlings are thriving in the Uilenkraal Valley. With a mission not only to restore the forest ecosystems but also to tread lightly as stewards of the existing space, Reforest Fest established new standards for Greenpop’s events, in terms of sustainable development and eco-conscious consumerism.

With our zero-waste ethos, the inclusion of biodegradable products, and natural decorative elements courtesy of Hemporium, Reforest Fest showcased the possibilities for large festivals to make a positive impact on the environment.

Hemp & Trees – Greenpop’s Partnership With Hemporium

Hemporium, a leading South African brand on a mission to revolutionise perspectives on the power of hemp, has been a longstanding supporter and partner of our restoration efforts at Greenpop. Since 1996, Hemporium has been at the forefront of Africa’s hemp revolution, offering a wide range of high-quality hemp products, including cooler clothing, tougher accessories, finer textiles, and hemp-infused supplements.

Greenpop joined hands with Hemporium back in 2012, when Tony Budden joined us as a speaker at our first Zambia Festival of Action (known then as Trees for Zambia). Since then, this blossoming partnership has seen them play integral roles in our impact events. 

As long-time friends, supporters, and collaborators of Greenpop, we at Hemporium are massive fans of their work, and couldn’t think of a better cause to get behind. Our organisations are rooted in such similar values of sustainability and environmental stewardship that teaming up is just such a natural fit.” – Shale Tinkler, Marketing Manager at Hemporium

Greenpop Hemporium

Our Greenpop team members at the Hemporium store on Harrington Street in Cape Town. Photograph: Hemporium

As long-time friends, supporters, and collaborators of Greenpop, we at Hemporium are massive fans of their work, and couldn’t think of a better cause to get behind. Our organisations are rooted in such similar values of sustainability and environmental stewardship that teaming up is just such a natural fit.” – Shale Tinkler, Marketing Manager at Hemporium

Ethical production remains a cornerstone of their business model, where Hemporium prioritises locally produced goods made from sustainably sourced hemp textiles and extracts. Embracing the phrase “aluta continua,” meaning “the struggle continues,” reaffirms Hemporium’s dedication to the ongoing fight for sustainability, ensuring that their efforts endure and inspire others to join the movement towards sustainability. By embracing biodegradables, Hemporium is committed to reducing environmental harm and promoting a circular economy.

This synergistic relationship with Reforest Fest’s zero waste philosophy and keeping things as light on the land as possible demonstrates their shared commitment to minimising their ecological footprint. From eco-friendly hand washes and lotions at the festival’s wash stations, to hemp textile aprons worn by our waste crew, and the hemp stage and decor adorning the site, this collaboration transformed Reforest Fest.


The Reforest Fest entrance archway was adorned with hemp textiles. Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Tapping Into the Potential of Hemp

When people think of hemp, they often think of cannabis or CBD products. But hemp has far more uses than just these stereotypical varieties. Hemporium has been a catalyst for showcasing the potential of hemp. Through their line of hemp apparel and textiles, from bags, pants and shirts, and their range of fabrics, twine and webbing, to hemp supplements – the scope of hemp is truly vast!

“[…] hemp’s production requires less than a third of the water needed for cotton and yields 220% more fibre. The plant grows without the need for harmful herbicides and pesticides and also replenishes soil quality.”The Guardian

Hemp fabric provides all the softness of a natural textile but with a strength that is an amazing 3 times higher than cotton – making it uniquely hard-wearing and long-lasting. 100% hemp fabric has an attractive natural finish and can also be mixed with cotton or silk to produce a wide variety of different weights and types of fabric.” – Hemporium

However, the power of hemp doesn’t stop there. Standing tall on Harrington Street in Cape Town’s City Centre is the world’s tallest building constructed with hempcrete blocks and hemp building materials. This remarkable structure, a collaboration between Hemporium and Afrimat Hemp, stands as a testament to the potential of bio-building and construction—a potential that is only now just beginning to unfold.

Partnering with Hemporium at Reforest Fest provided us with the platform to showcase a sneak peek into these bio-alternative benefits to our audience, sparking conversation and hopefully opening minds and shifting perspectives. And with that, we’re hoping to dig deeper into this in the future – exploring the alternatives, and showcasing this to our audience in meaningful ways!


Hemporium’s hempcrete building on Harrington Street in Cape Town. Image source: Hemporium

Treading Lightly in the Embrace of Nature

Every aspect of Reforest Fest was meticulously curated with sustainability in mind, aiming 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, in the hopes to revolutionise the way we approach festivals

From interactive upcycled art stations to a recycling depot facilitated by our Waste Management Team, collecting and sorting waste was made easier than ever. 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 ton!) of well-sorted recyclables from landfills, feed 527kg of food waste to pigs, and process 1652 kg of humanure, setting a new sustainability record at the festival.



Two of the Waste Management Team members at Reforest Fest wearing their Hemporium hemp textile aprons. Photographer: Shari Lee Thompson

Protecting Our Precious Natural Water Sources

Reforest Fest took place at the picturesque Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat, nestled outside of Gansbaai in the Uilenkraal Valley. In this serene setting, our aim was for people to not only connect with each other but also with the natural surroundings. With rolling green hills covered in fynbos, indigenous forests, an abundance of creatures, and natural water sources feeding into the on-site water systems, it was pivotal for us to treat this fragile ecosystem with the respect and care it deserved.

This year, we elevated the festival experience by ensuring spaces for fest-goers to wash and pamper themselves with access to fresh water and fragrant eco-friendly soaps, made possible by Hemporium. At each wash station and shower, built with the support of The Pole Yard and Viva con Agua, attendees found biodegradable Hemporium handwashes, body washes, and lotions. 

These products not only looked great in their recyclable glass bottle packaging but also contained carefully selected ingredients, including Hemp seed oil (Cannabis sativa seed oil), baobab oil (Adansonia digitata), distilled water (Aqua), and essential oils like Lemongrass. Their formulation ensured a sudsy soap-up without compromising the environment. Given that the water on-site feeds back into a natural wetland ecosystem, ensuring that all products used would not jeopardise these ecosystems was of utmost importance.

By providing attendees with access to high-quality, nourishing products, the festival not only encouraged self-care but also fostered a deeper connection to the natural world—a connection that lies at the heart of the Reforest Fest experience.



A Reforest Fest attendee enjoying an eco-conscious hand wash, with fresh spring water and Hemporium soaps at Reforest Fest. Photographer: Skyla Haley

Creative Decor With a Natural Twist

From flower-like chandeliers made from Hemporium hemp textiles and twigs to solar-powered lighting from Litehouse, Reforest Fest’s decor exuded a 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 at Reforest Fest didn’t just enhance the event but it welcomed attendees into a world of eco-friendly beauty. Every piece was lovingly repurposed, transforming what might have been waste into charming accents that perfectly complemented the festival’s natural setting. 

Sustainable decor not only benefits the planet but also improves quality of life by creating healthier, more harmonious spaces.”María Belén Raimondi



A beautifully crafted floral chandelier at Reforest Fest, made using twigs and Hemp textiles. Photographer: Callum Evans

Hemp Setting the Stage

The Hemp Stage structure, which was the first of its kind at Reforest Fest 2023, was generously sponsored by Hemporium, The Pole Yard, and Bain’s Whisky Collaborating with sustainability-minded brands to bring new life to our structures and spaces was also a key component of Reforest Fest’s mission.

Not only did the Hemp Stage, which was made using recycled timber from The Pole Yard, provide a physical platform for the performers, but also set the stage for talent to collide in an epic display of local musical prowess. 

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. Festival goers danced until late into the night, soaking up the sounds of the incredible local talents gracing the stage.


Our Consumer Choices Hold Great Power

The 21st-century consumer is becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact of our consumerism. From wasteful product packaging to the often-questionable ingredients list, consumers are becoming ever more aware of the negative implications of our consumption on the environment.

Lukas Gutierrez states “To be better consumers we must think about what we are purchasing and realise the environmental impacts of these goods. When buying new beauty products it is important to know how it was made, who made it and what’s inside”.

Companies like Hemporium, shift this narrative around, showcasing the power companies have to take action for the environment, which in turn empowers consumers to make informed choices.

Looking Ahead

As we navigate the challenges of environmental degradation, brands like Hemporium serve as beacons of hope, illuminating the path towards a greener, more resilient world. Together, we can orchestrate a symphony of sustainability, where every action, no matter how small, contributes to a brighter tomorrow. 

In the aftermath of Reforest Fest, let’s carry forward the spirit of sustainability and continue to make a positive impact on our planet, one mindful choice at a time. Festivals have the power to change, as was displayed at this year’s event, as do industries and individuals. Together, we can create a brighter, greener future for generations to come.

“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.