Two years ago the Botha sisters moved back to Jeffreys Bay to materialize their dream of building an eco-friendly house for their mom. Little did they know that interest in the vegetable home gardens they were building for friends and family would grow into a business and make the move to the Eastern Cape a permanent one. “We thought we would build the house and then move on, but the organic vegetable gardens we had set up, more as a hobby and favour for friends and family created enormous interest. I had previously worked with Ben, a friend of mine, as a volunteer in the Masiphumelele garden in Cape Town and after some dialogue with him, Urban Harvest Eastern Cape was born. And of course being able to permanently live in Jeffreys Bay whilst doing something you love is not a bad deal at all.” says Susan.
Initially focussing on building the foundations of the business, and not the house, the sisters secured a property to start their own nursery to grow organic seed and seedlings. ” We source some of our seedlings from nurseries, but where we can, we grown organic seed and seedlings to use in our gardens.” says Jakkie
One and a half years later the foundations for their mom’s house was marked out. Started over the December holidays, the sisters invited friends and family to hang out over Christmas and help out with building the house. ”
The support has been amazing,” Susan says, “friends and family have travelled from afar to lend a helping hand.” The house is being built out of sandbags, laid within a wooden beam structure, on top of a sand-cement sandbag foundation. The building technique uses very little cement and is a great method to use for self-builders.
Now that the walls are in place, the building continues with a permanent team of guys, whilst the sisters have jumped back into the gardens. “It has definitely been a tremendous challenge, but also very rewarding. We can’t wait to get to the stage where we put in a graywater recycling system and a huge mandala edible food garden for my mom.” says Susan. Jakkie agrees: “We have that in our mind’s eye, sitting under the pergola, eating granadillas and having a beer whilst watching the garden grow. Another job well done. ” she laughs.