Greenpop Reforest Fest 2022: Tree huggers gather to plant thousands of trees in the Overberg | #wineforgood

Monday, 11 April, 2022
wine.co.za, Jeanine Malan
Greenpop's Reforest Fest saw more than 5 000 indigenous trees planted in the Overberg region.

During the first weekend of April, I had the honour of attending Greenpop's annual Reforest Fest. 700 Nature lovers came together at the Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat in Stanford to make a difference by planting a total of 5 064 indigenous trees.

Reforest Fest 2022

The Reforest Fest is an annual tree planting festival held by local environmental non-profit organisation Greenpop in Stanford. It is an event that brings people together to plant thousands of trees while enjoying a celebration like no other.

"Our biggest planting event of the year has always been the Reforest Fest at Platbos Forest Reserve, Stanford. Here, we’ve planted between 5 000 and 10 000 trees each year since 2011, reaching a total of 85 645 trees," says Greenpop.

Their 2022 event was held at Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat, right next to Platbos:

"This year we have moved across the road Bodhi Khaya. Our planting efforts in the Overberg valley are growing and we are planting trees in pockets of previously forested land as part of a broader ecosystem restoration management plan being developed by the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy."

Festivalgoers not only had the opportunity to help restore degraded land, but also to attend workshops, talks, and classes; dance under the stars with local musicians and DJs; and enjoy delicious food and drinks.

The sponsors of the event were the Western Cape Government, CapeNature, Cape Whale Coast, Overstrand Municipality, Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat, Platbos Forest Reserve, BOS, WWF South Africa, and Wellness Warehouse.

Tree planting at Reforest Fest

The highlight of the weekend-long festival, tree planting, started early Saturday morning. After a spirited warm-up session, we were divided into teams and then headed into the forest. Greenpop volunteer Skye gave us a demonstration on how to plant trees. Because it's not as straightforward as it seems, especially if you want to give your trees a fighting chance.

5 Steps of successfully planting a tree

  1. Choose a planting spot.
  2. Dig a hole, building a birm (wall) on its edge and creating a shelf in-between.
  3. Fill the hole with mulch and compress it using your feet.
  4. Dig a crescent ditch 15cm deep in the edge of the shelf.
  5. Plant 4-6 trees in the ditch.

Branching out into smaller teams within our team, my husband and I joined a group of three friends. Together, we enthusiastically went on to plant several trees, minutes turning into hours as we planted tree upon tree.

Midway through the planting, we took a break for the Mad Hatters Tea Party. Here, we enjoyed some refreshments as well as entertainment by musicians and psychedelic dancers from The Psychedelic Theatre.

Afterwards, planting resumed till lunchtime. During this session, avid tree planters worked hard to make sure all the young trees were firmly planted and protected from the elements (this meant securing all the berms, most importantly). We also planted as many of the remaining trees as we could, filling all the gaps.

For lunch, Reforest Fest had a foodie lineup that did not disappoint. The food vendors served up delicious plant-based meals, ranging from burgers and pizzas to poké bowls to smoothies, and lots more! (Some of my favourites were the "Real Cheeze Burger" with a lentil patty and Fry's chicken-style nuggets.) There were also child-friendly options available.

To reduce wastage, guests were asked to bring along their own cutlery and crockery.

WWF SA's Conservation Wine Tent

The Conservation Wine Tent, sponsored by WWF South Africa, opened at 15:00. Here, festivalgoers could taste some delicious wine from conservation leaders Boland Cellar, Spier Wine Farm, Lomond Wine Estate and Lost Boy Wines.

These conservation leaders each do their part to conserve the environment:

  • Boland Cellar: As part of their Trees For Bees programme – in partnership with Greenpop and The Bee Effect – Boland Cellar raises funds to plant trees. Not only do these trees feed honey bees, but they also support much-needed reforestation to mitigate climate change and protect habitats.
  • Spier Wine Farm: Spier's Growing For Good initiatives empower communities to unleash positive social and environmental change. Spier’s initiatives include farming organically, training young farmers, supporting impoverished communities to grow trees, and many more.
  • Lomond Wine Estate: At Lomond Wine Estate, the team bases their farming practices on the conservation of the critically endangered Elim fynbos growing on their estate. They work to conserve the fynbos as well as the natural biodiversity it forms part of.
  • Lost Boy Wines: Trevor, the owner and winemaker, donates R300 from every case of wine sold to various African wildlife conservation projects.

Shelly Fuller, WWF South Africa's fruit and wine programme manager, delivered a talk about the role of the South African wine industry in conservation.

She also highlighted the work done by the WWF Conservation Champions: Environmental leaders in the wine industry who are collaborating with WWF to farm more sustainably and protect conservation-worthy land.

"We work with 55 wine farms and they conserve over 22 000 ha of land while they're producing their wine," Shelly explained.

"Agriculture and conservation can work very well together, but you have to be committed to restoring the land as you much as you are using it... It's really important to be support wine farms like these because as consumers you are making your vote with every single purchase."

A night of live music

That evening, festivalgoers celebrated their amazing achievement with an exciting forest party.

True magic was witnessed upon the stage, with Hot Water being spontaneously joined by Jeremy Loops, Zolani Mahola, and Aron Halevi.

Next up, DJ Crash Love (aka Greenpop's very own Misha Teasdale) took the stage. His set had the crowd jamming and grooving to the rhythm of 80s, 90s and other feel good musical mashups.

All in all, Greenpop made a significant difference in reforesting degraded forest ecosystems and sharing knowledge on how to better the environment at this year's Reforest Fest. Visit their website to find out more about their incredible work: www.greenpop.org.

 

There are plenty of good news stories about upliftment and transformation in the South African Wine Industry. The #wineforgood website, launched by wine.co.za in June 2016, hosts all the positive stories from the winelands, of which there are plenty. wine.co.za has made April a focus for #wineforgood stories. Share them far and wide and spread the good news about South African wine.

Indigenous trees like milkwood trees were planted at Greenpop's Reforest Fest.
Indigenous trees like milkwood trees were planted at Greenpop's Reforest Fest.

Planters taking a break at The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Planters taking a break at The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

The Reforest Fest was all about people working together to make a difference.
The Reforest Fest was all about people working together to make a difference.



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