Empowering Farmers through Knowledge

Eco-Wisdom: Proven, Implementable Strategies to Living Green

The earth’s natural resources such as clean water, fossil fuels, and even arable land, are finite. This is why, if we are to preserve them for future generations, we have to use these resources efficiently and responsibly. Orrin Cottle, CEO of Brahman Hills, home to spectacular views and luxurious 4- and 5-star accommodation in the picturesque Midlands, believes that in today’s world, sustainability is not just a choice; it’s a responsibility we all share.

“Caring for our environment ensures its preservation for generations to come. Interestingly though, once you embark on this journey, you will discover many additional benefits beyond environmental protection. For example, with ever-increasing loadshedding and water shortages, practices like solar energy and rainwater harvesting are not just sustainable options but essential solutions. Similarly, nurturing a personal vegetable garden not only contributes to environmental conservation but is also good for your overall health and it will save you money!”

Currently, Brahman Hills operates its entire property with 65% off-the-grid sustainability. From solar and water management to cultivating herbs and vegetables, and farming free-range, hormone-free meat, every aspect reflects a commitment to environmental conservation and shifting lives for the next 100 years.

Having walked the sustainability journey, Cottle believes that every South African has the power to embrace at least one sustainable practice, playing their part in safeguarding the earth.

He offers the following tips for those eager to begin their sustainability journey:

1. Start a Veggie Garden: Start your journey towards sustainable living by taking small steps such as planting herbs or vegetables in your garden, balcony, or windowsill. Research the best plants for your climate, and invest in quality soil and seeds. We began our journey modestly in 2015, using recycled bricks and circular beds to cultivate our organically grown produce. Since then, our commitment has blossomed into an expansive vegetable and herb garden, ensuring our guests’ a steady supply of fresh, seasonal organic delights.

2. Harvest Rainwater: Install a rainwater harvesting system, like a rain barrel or JoJo tank, to collect runoff from your roof. Use the collected water for plant watering or outdoor cleaning. JoJo tanks can also be adapted for domestic use. We’ve been using a rainwater harvesting system to collect and store rainwater for irrigation purposes since 2012, reducing our reliance on municipal water supplies and conserving resources.

3. Practice Sustainable Water Management: To conserve water further, adopt simple practices like repairing leaks, opting for shorter showers, and using water-efficient appliances. Install low-flow taps and showerheads, and consider collecting and reusing greywater where possible.  At Brahman Hills, we have a borehole and have also installed an advanced wastewater purification system that allows us to recycle water, minimising waste and supporting our local ecosystem. Following double filtration, the water rejuvenates our lake’s ecosystem and is used for fountains and irrigation. It’s so clean that it’s drinkable post-filtration.

4. Save Energy: To embrace sustainable energy solutions, consider options like rooftop solar panels or solar water heaters for your home or business. If initial budgets are tight, prioritise energy-efficient light bulbs as a starting point. In what has been a five-year project, Brahman Hills now harnesses a remarkable 85% of our energy from solar panels, reducing our carbon footprint and reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

As Brahman Hills continues to lead by example in sustainable hospitality, they invite individuals and businesses alike to join them on this journey towards a greener, more sustainable future. “We can all play a part in protecting the planet for future generations if we just incorporate one or more of these sustainable, eco-friendly practices into our daily lives. Even the smallest actions can make a big difference,” says Executive Director, Onwaba Gonyora.

Experience Brahman Hills’ sustainable practices first-hand at The Brahman Hills Experience from 10-12 May 2024. Indulge in delectable organic delights from the garden, expertly crafted by celebrity Chef Pete Goffe-Wood. Taste some of South Africa’s finest wines while rubbing shoulders with four of South Africa’s rugby icons including Tendai Mtawarira, Stefan Terblanche, Duane Vermeulen, and Hanyani Shimange. Rejuvenate at the award-winning spa, and wander through the internationally-acclaimed gardens; a truly unforgettable experience awaits. For more information go to: https://www.brahmanhills.co.za/events/the-brahman-hills-experience

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