Flower Valley Conservation Trust has turned 20 years old
For the Trust, it has been 20 years of growth, progress and learning – from 1999, when with Fauna & Flora International’s support, Flower Valley Farm was purchased; to 2017, where Flower Valley entered a new phase in promoting fynbos care throughout the Cape Floral Kingdom. The Trust takes a quick look at those defining moments that have led Flower Valley to where we are today.
With talk that the area is to be converted to vineyards, a concerned individual, Carol Blumenthal approaches Fauna & Flora International (FFI) for support to buy Flower Valley Farm, based just outside Gansbaai. FFI purchases the farm, an area of 540 hectares, and sets up Flower Valley Conservation Trust to manage the farm.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust is mandated through the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) to investigate ABI’s second objective: ‘Ecologically, socially and economically sustainable harvesting of wild fynbos is demonstrated as a viable land-use on Agulhas Plain’. This sets Flower Valley on the path to develop the Sustainable Harvesting Programme, a programme based on research, science and wide participation. The outcome is awarded a ‘highly satisfactory’ rating by the end of the project, in 2010.
Flower Valley Farm is hit by a devastating fire that destroys more than 45,000 hectares in the Walker Bay area – most of this pristine fynbos. The fire affects many fynbos suppliers and their picking teams. Moreover, Flower Valley Farm itself loses a large portion of its afromontane forest, one of the reasons behind the Stinkhoutsbos Forest Restoration Project happening today.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust becomes a signatory to the Cape Action for People and the Environment.
The packshed that sells sustainably harvested fynbos, Fynsa, closes its doors. The closure, while disappointing, sets Flower Valley on a new path to develop new partnerships and renewed support for the Sustainable Harvesting Programme across the supply chain.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust
The Flower Valley Early Learning Centre on Flower Valley Farm closes its doors. The main reason was rising transport costs, to bring children to the site on the farm. The site was transformed into a hub to facilitate environmental education.
Flower Valley TURNS 20 years old – and continues its work to protect fynbos landscapes, and support early childhood development.
The Flower Valley Early Learning Centre for children aged between two and six is born, to help look after the children of fynbos harvesters and farm workers while they’re at work. The centre’s work in providing an environmental education for children continues today.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust buys the neighbouring farm, Witvoetskloof, with funding secured from Fauna & Flora International. This farm is home to many highly threatened fynbos species, many found only on Witvoetskloof and nowhere else in the world.
Fynbos Retreat, the tourism joint venture between Flower Valley and Grootbos, is officially launched in November. Fynbos Retreat is situated on Witvoetskloof Farm, offering self-catering accommodation facilities for visitors and tourists. Fynbos Retreat is well-received at the launch, and today still continues to enjoy strong support.
Flower Valley, as coordinator of ABI, starts coordinating the ABI Alien Clearing Project, following the launch of the Land User Incentive Scheme by the Department of Environmental Affairs. Funding is secured for the next three years to clear invasive alien plants on the Agulhas Plain.
At the same time, Flower Valley receives new donor support to roll out the Sustainable Harvesting Programme beyond the Agulhas Plain – the initial pilot area. The three new areas are the West Coast, the Riversdale-area and the Boland.
The Flower Valley Early Childhood Development Programme turns 18 – reaching five centres across the Overstrand region. Flower Valley also launches a home-based care programme.
Flower Valley launches the i-Fynbos application – a tool to help landowner and harvesters monitor their harvesting impacts over time. The app is the first of its kind in the fynbos industry, and is supported through funding from the Durham and Newcastle Universities.
Following a recent study on Flower Valley Farm, it was found that SEVEN different species of dung beetles occur here. And while they may frequent the indigenous Stinkhoutsbos Forest, the study found they prefer the fynbos-covered slopes on the farm.
In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos. And not just any fynbos, of course. We only opt for responsibly harvested fynbos.
When you buy Fynbos bouquets with THIS sticker on them, you’re helping to conserve Fynbos. Flower Valley Conservation Trust has teamed up with Pick n Pay to protect Fynbos. For every bouquet of Fynbos sold in a Pick n Pay store with the sticker on, R1 is donated to Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting Programme (SHP).
We popped in at our Sustainable Harvesting Programme member, Lourens Boerdery, to see the creative side in action (and hopefully get some tips on bouquet arranging). Here Maria Lewis shows us how it’s done:
The Vulnerability Index has been recognised internationally as an important contributor to conservation in the fynbos biome. This Index is a key component of the Flower Valley Sustainable Harvesting Programme. It’s used to guide wild harvesting of fynbos across the Agulhas Plain.
The new year brings renewed commitment to enrich young children’s lives and provide them with a beautiful, warm and nurturing learning environment.
Nearly 2,000 hectares of invasive alien plants have been removed in the Agulhas Plain since the launch of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) Alien Clearing Project, implemented by Flower Valley Conservation Trust. The project launched in August 2019.
A new study has highlighted the importance of Silver Brunia (Brunia laevis) as an economic driver for fynbos harvesters. And the potential threats this could hold for the species – and for fynbos pickers.
On 17 December 2019, news came that smoke had been spotted just below the lower Flower Valley border. The smoke was seen in a dense poplar tree forest, on a neighbour’s property. But with no way to enter, we had to wait it out and let it burn out towards Flower Valley Farm.
The Flower Valley Conservation Trust’s annual report for 2018 - 2019 is now available. Says Executive Director, Lesley Richardson: I’ve been part of an intricate Flower Valley Conservation Trust journey. This journey has seen Flower Valley evolve and grow. What...