Although our food gardens were first planted in 2013, they were significantly expanded in 2020 under the guidance of Megan McCarthy, an expert in using eco-friendly and regenerative techniques to grow food. Today, our food garden covers roughly a hectare. No inorganic pesticides or artificial fertilisers are used; instead, much effort is spent ensuring the soil is healthy so that the plants have a robust immune system to withstand attacks by pests. Worm compost and weekly foliar sprays (a natural form of fertiliser) boost nutrients. Alien vegetation removed from other parts of the farm has been chipped and turned into mulch; this has helped ensure the food garden’s soil is now rich with microbial activity.
In 2020, Spier in partnership with the Sustainability Institute, recruited 13 local community members to increase food production on the farm and learn how to grow their own fresh, nutritious produce at home. Megan provided hands-on training in demonstration plots at Spier, ably assisted by her deputy, Lonwabo Mfenguza, a graduate of the Biodynamic Agricultural Association of South Africa (BDAASA) two-year course on the holistic growing of food. Eight of these community members continue to work with Megan in the Food Garden.
When it comes to taking care of unwelcome critters, Megan gets help from a gaggle of Indian Runner ducks. They roam freely through the garden during the day, snacking on snails and slugs and sleeping in mobile enclosures at night. Megan’s dog, Lufie, doesn’t just provide company: he keeps a protective eye over the ducks, and scares off Egyptian geese, guinea fowl and rock pigeons too!
The bounty grown here is used in our restaurants and sold in our online shop and at Spier Farm Cafe. During the hard lockdown in 2020, the farm’s produce was donated to about 600 vulnerable families in nearby communities as part of relief packs. These packs were supplemented with seedlings and guidance on how to grow food. 11 families in Lynedoch have started food gardens to provide their families and community with nutritious food. With Megan’s support, six gardens were also established by Spier staff members in our staff village in March 2020; four of these continue to grow food.
Join us for Self-Harvesting
Harvest your own produce from the food garden Monday - Saturday mornings between 09.00 to 11.00. From R150, advanced booking is essential. Click here to secure your spot. Comfortable shoes and a hat are recommended.