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Our story

Flower Valley Conservation Trust has turned 21 years old

 

For the Trust, it has been 21 years of growth, progress and learning – from 1999, when with Fauna & Flora International’s support, Flower Valley Farm was purchased; to today, where the Trust has a staff contingent of 20 people, and works to promote a fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods across the Fynbos Biome.

The Trust takes a quick look at those defining moments that have led Flower Valley to where we are today.

1999

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.

From the start, the Flower Valley Conservation Trust helps to care for the children of fynbos harvesters, farm workers and surrounding families while they’re at work. This was essentially the start of the Trust’s work in early childhood development, which  continues today.

2004

Flower Valley works with a number of Early Childhood Development sites, facilitating qualification training for many practitioners at the time.  

2011

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. It closes its doors to the public in 2019, to become a Grootbos Foundation research hub for students.

2013

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.

At the same time, Flower Valley receives new donor support from the European Union and the WWF Nedbank Green Trust 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 enjoys new donor support, launching its Nurture project. Working in a spirit of collaboration and partnership, it focuses on supporting five ECD centres in and around Gansbaai.

2018

The Flower Valley Early Learning Centre on Flower Valley Farm closes its doors. The main reason is rising transport costs, to bring children to the site on the farm.  The site is transformed into a hub to facilitate environmental education.

Flower Valley launches the i-Fynbos application – a tool to help landowners 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.

2020

Flower Valley turns 21 years old. And we continue to work towards our vision: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods.

2003

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 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.

 

 

 

2006

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. The Trust sets up new livelihood opportunities for harvesters through fynbos paper making. 

 

2012

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.

The Flower Valley Sustainable Harvesting Code of Best Practice for wild harvesters is included in an industry-wide best principle guideline. The Code is included as part of the South African Protea Producers and Exporters Association (SAPPEX) best practice guidelines for the industry.

 

 

2015

The Flower Valley Early Childhood Development Programme launches a home-based care programme in Pearly Beach and Baardskeerdersbos. This allows Flower Valley to provide support to children who can’t attend Early Childhood Development centres. 

The Field Guide for Wild Flower Harvesting, compiled by Flower Valley Conservation Trust and the Universities of Newcastle and Durham in the United Kingdom, is published. It specifically focuses on species found and picked on the Agulhas Plain. The guide is also translated into Afrikaans and Xhosa.

 

 

 

 

2019

Flower Valley launches a new invasive alien clearing programme in the Agulhas Plain – following on from the work already undertaken since 2012. The project is an Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) project, implemented by the Trust. We clear 5,700 hectares in the first year, and the project employs 144 people. 

A wildfire once again affects Flower Valley Farm. This time, however, only the lower reaches of the farm are affected by the December blaze.

 

 

 

 

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Quality early childhood development is vital for the social and intellectual wellbeing of our children. But many children across the Overstrand do not have access to this. Help give these children the best possible start through ECD. SUPPORT NOW

Fynbos faces extreme threats. Many fynbos species have already gone extinct. Others literally stand on the brink of extinction. Act today, to stop the extinction spiral of this truly South African floral heritage.

Quality early childhood development is vital for the social and intellectual wellbeing of our children. But many children across the Overstrand do not have access to this. Help give these children the best possible start through ECD.

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