We are Nature! Eden Festival of Action 2021



By Claudia Waller

Greenpop’s annual tree-planting event is a week-long immersion into a world of peaceful environmentalism, with this year’s event hosting 140 activists who collaborated to accomplish great things!

1000 indigenous trees were planted!

Over 35 species including Yellowwood, Keurboom, Cape Beech, Ironwood, False Ash, Cape Olive and many more, over two sites in the Eden district. Epic.

Rory_Allen - FOA 2021 - 29

45 talks, workshops, and activities were hosted by some amazing experts.

We delved into the fundamentals of biomimicry, led by renowned biomimicry practitioner, keynote speaker and founder of Learn Biomimicry and BiomimicrySA Claire Janisch. Take a sneak peak at the Learn Biomimicry online course where you can get a feel for how valuable this practice is and how you can incorporate it into your life.

We had Elethu Nkala and Avuzwa Ngubo from ACTIVATE! Academy join us again for an interactive social entrepreneurship workshop, where one of the participants went away with a business plan that broke the hypothetical nature of the workshop, and are intending to implement! They also hosted an engaging Speaker Evening, in which participants signed up for a 5-minute slot to speak their mind, to anything! Remarkable to hear all of the enthusiastic, energised and inspired minds that walked away from this session.

Our former Eden Head of Programmes Matthew Koehorst paid homage to his past and hosted an insightful workshop on “Turning your sustainability dreams into action” as he now runs a successful sustainable landscaping and land management business, connecting social entrepreneurship and alternative livelihoods.

With all of the wisdom of a life well-lived, Tim Wigley continuously blew my mind with his knowledge on myriad topics, motivating for regenerative agriculture and inspiring the homesteader in me. 

Scone from MycoMinded echoed the lessons of “we are nature” in his expansive workshop introducing us to the world of fungi, also getting hands-on in a practical mushroom cultivation session solidifying our learnings.

Eden Festival of Action - Mycology Workshop - Schalk Hanekom

100+m2 Alien black wattle vegetation was cleared by hand

Clearing invasive alien vegetation is at the forefront of our ecosystem restoration work, to give space for our indigenous trees to go, and reestablish an ecological equilibrium within the soils, water use, and forest ecosystem as a whole. 

Eden Festival of Action 2021 - Alien Clearing - Thulani Swartbooi

Over 3300 plant-based meals were served by the conscious kitchen team.

ButtaNutt, AGT Foods, Eureka Mills and  Pesto Princess, kept our participants fed with exceptional ingredients like Herbiraw’s exquisite carrot “smoked salmon”and with help from Vegfund, our remarkable chef wizardry by Jemma was able to feed over 3300 meals! Soaring Free Superfoods also provided us with a number of delicious snacks to fuel us in our work, including ethically sourced chocolate that comes in biodegradable packaging which you can buy under their exciting New Releases section on their website here.

Arise Coffee provided the Wellness Warehouse sponsored Tea and Coffee stand with coffee that plants a tree for every 3kg sold – convert today! Big thanks to Wellness Warehouse for all of the delectable and speciality teas and treats.

Eden Festival of Action 2021 - Plant Based Food - Brittany McDonald

2 collaborative environmental murals were painted by volunteers and artists

Wayne Beukes and Mernette Swartz with BazArt painted stunning murals which are being turned into a global VR interactive museum experience – watch this space! Huge thank you to the British Council, Cooperative Innovations and CapeNature for supporting this.

Local community from Kurland Village got involved in the painting that turned out spectacularly, creating awareness around the issues of littering and plastic pollution by making it accessible to thousands of passers by.

Additionally bolstering our message to reduce plastic pollution, Cape Union Mart sponsored our team t-shirts in collaboration with PETCO, made out of recycled PET bottles. Thanks for making necessary clothing sustainable!

Eden Festival of Action 2021 - Mural Painting - Schalk Hanekom

10,000m2 was surveyed and cleaned in a beach clean-up

Focusing on nurdles and micro plastics in collaboration with CapeNature, Nature’s Valley Trust, and Save a Fishie, we all jumped in the Nomad Adventure tours Overlander (thank you for getting us to and from the event, as well as to the various sites during, in your awesome overlander vehicles Nomad!) and proceeded to survey a whopping 10,000m2 of Nature’s Valley beach. 

In the act of participating, conversations turn to understanding the scale of the issue that is plastic pollution, and the domino effect of how your consumer habits essentially affect what ends up in the ocean. 

And where does the data collected go?

Currently our fishing line bin and marine debris data goes into a hotspot map and is being written up into scientific papers. This information goes into local conservation organisations (such as SANParks) as well as local municipalities to inform regulations and awareness campaigns. Nurdle data is further sent to Spill Tech who deals with waste management.”Lauren Moriarty, Nature’s Valley Trust

Eden Festival of Action 2021 - Beach Clean-up

Over 25 sponsored participants joined the event from around South Africa

CapeNature sponsored 10 students to attend the event (see the full blog here) alongside 15 other sponsored participants, with our goal year on year to have a higher number of low-income youth sponsored to attend. 

Eden Festival of Action 2021 - CapeNature

We would also like to say a special thanks to Western Cape Government, WESGRO Tourism department, for sponsorship of the event. With your help, we made real impact, thank you for your continued support.

We also had incredible earth-friendly cleaning products from Better Earth and Essential Green – you are long-term avid supporters of our work and we can’t thank you enough. Our very own communications manager Carla supported the event with Cape of Storms sanitisers and apothecary products – a delight to use a sanitiser that smells delicious.

Viva Con Agua, who work towards transforming the lives of those who do not have access to essential water and sanitation services in the Eastern Cape also supported the sanitation aspect of the event, coupled with a screening of their inspiring project and engaging conversations.

It’s with utmost gratitude that we can host the event on the incredible, sacred and astounding land in which Wild Spirit Lodge lies, with a relationship to build and grow together for years to come. Thanks to the custodians Jenny, Earle and Ola Lawrence for sharing our vision and accommodating us with such ease and grace.

Overjoyed and overzealous for the future of the Eden Festival of Action, if we can continue the momentum from this year going forward, I have no doubt that collectively we can create real change for the betterment of our planet now, and for generations to come.

Pre-register for the 2022 Eden Festival of Action here: bit.ly/Eden2022PreReg

Can’t wait until the Eden Festival of Action 2022? Come to Reforest Fest 2022!

We are so excited to announce that we will return in 2022 with Reforest Fest, our annual tree-planting event in the Overberg Region, for the weekend 1-3 April 2022. Save the dates! Pre-register here to be the first in line to hear of more information, Early-Bird tickets and special offers when we launch the event in the coming months.

Eden Festival of Action 2021 - CapeNature

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