Oudeberg Permaculture Farm

Oudeberg Permaculture Farm is located in the Ouberg Mountains 20 km outside Montagu in the Klien Karoo. The farm is located in a Montaine Fynbos Biome and has a Mediterranean Climate, with dry hot summers and cool wet winters. The temperatures are relatively moderate and thankfully the area does not experience heavy frost in winter, allowing a wider diversity of plants to be grown. The Farm encompasses the entire watershed above it and has been organic for the last 8 years so no toxins flow into the farm from above. The average annual rainfall is in the region of 450mm which combined with the keypoint location of the farm has resulted in good water sources. There are 4 springs on the farm and 7 strong boreholes with a perennial stream flowing off the mountain flowing through production areas of the farm. A government road runs through the farm ensuring easy access.

Vision and Holistic Context

The farm is a 600-hectare ex-livestock operation that is undergoing transformation into a full 5 Zone Commercial Permaculture Farm since September 2014.

Kent Tahir Cooper and Larissa Green have been making fast progress in implementing the mainframe design pattern which is integrated into the primary valleys that run off the main ridge of the Ouberg. There are 7 hectares of valley terraces that have been swaled and contour ripped to set the framework for an agroecological regenerative approach to transforming the existing lucerne production into a diverse tree-based production system focusing on main crops such as Nuts, Olives, Medicinal Plants, Super Foods, Bio-oils, Lucerne, Pasture, etc…

Oudeberg Zone 1 Kitchen garden going into its 3rd month… The house retrofit with compost toilet were the first focus…

Always start at your doorstep…

Excavating the Region’s first Swales

Regenerative Land Use Patterning for Tree-based Production using Keyline Pattern of Cultivation combined with Swales

Regenerative Water Harvesting Earthworks in place on Lucerne Fields which will now be transformed into an Agroecological Production System based on Pistachio Nuts and large Production Trees along Swales.

Large Swales and Keyline Pattern of Cultivation Ripping on Retrofitted Lucerne Fields

We are in the midst of harvesting and baling our Lucerne as the season is in full swing and we cut or graze each terrace every 4 weeks… The swales are fully colonised by lucerne & white clover now, which we leave flowering so the bees have something in the interim and all the little creatures have a refuge while the Lucerne is regrowing…

Lucerne cut, raked & ready to bale…

Our aim in the long run is in the region of 30 tons of lucerne a hectare a year, which is possible with good management and sound ecological infrastructure…

Old eroded fields have been restored using swales and contour ripping and there is ongoing renovation of buildings to retrofit them into a regenerative pattern, that harvests rainwater, solar energy for electricity and heating water, with all grey water recycled. Compost toilets have replaced flush toilets and septic tanks and Zone 1 & 2 production systems are the current focus.

Oudeberg Homestead and the site for Zone 1 and 2 Implementation

The Zone 1 vege garden on a lower terrace system in Zone 1.

The dry hot summers are ideal for growing vegetables as the gardens are east facing with trees and a big ridge protecting the plants from the hot western sun in the afternoon.

We have a bumper harvest of apricots, most of which are been dried with the kitchen so busy as Larissa makes yummy chutneys and preserves to tide us through the year…We have plums, almonds, apples, pear, quince and olives on the horizon. Abundance…

The dry hot summers are ideal for growing vegetables as the gardens are east facing with trees and a big ridge protecting the plants from the hot western sun in the afternoon.

We have reintroduced Nguni Cattle now that the infrastructure is better suited to their management as well as pot-bellied pigs with chicken in electric netting rotation camps to manage the fruit trees in the systems. There is ongoing progress in converting conventional orchards into diverse food forest systems and the hundreds of Olive Trees need TLC to get them more productive. Tree Lucerne has been planted on many of the large swales on the farm with a nursery planned to propagate many of the plant requirements of the establishment of the systems.

The Herd

Our Nguni Stud herd helps us manage the lucerne fields in a rotation system using electric fencing. They also provide dung for the systems, veld management and eventually milk for dairy…
The long-term vision is to establish a small training center on the farm from which to run Permaculture Design Courses, a Permaculture Internship Program, Permaculture and Regenerative Lifestyle Retreats, etc. We are running our volunteer program whereby people exchange their energy and skills for a place to stay and an educational experience in living and working on a permaculture farm.

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