Free Range Meat Suppliers

Situated in the picturesque Maluti Mountains of Zastron in the Orange Free State, Boomplaats farm practices holistic farming and is the very first farm in the whole of South Africa to produce organically certified cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens.

No fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, hormones or antibiotics means the meat is healthy for you. They supply Johannesburg, Pretoria and around Gauteng.

“We create living soils, lush pastures, happy animals and vibrant humans!”


My name is Akim Riemer; I am a Pork-smith in search of the holy grail of the pork chop.
As a pork-smith I practice the art of artisanal pork husbandry, a holistic philosophy guided by nature, bound by the mantra “no stress at death”. To achieve this pigs have to be slaughtered at the place of birth and with smoke and mirrors you can, on a small herd of 150 pigs, harvest with zero stress-IT’S POSSIBLE and revolutionary!
To make it sustainable the concept “artisanal allotment pork club” has been born, a collective and legal approach for people to be accountable to the meat they eat. Enshrined in the constitution under the bill of rights is the freedom of belief so if you are a meat eater, and are of the belief that the animal must not suffer, cannot be tortured, and was allowed to follow its natural behavior before its slaughtered with respect and zero stress we invite you to contact us to find out more.
If you wish to see us in person and get to know more about our collective sharing approach for sustainable pork then please come see us this Saturday at Kommetjie Primary schools market for the fund raiser “walk for water” where we will have a stand selling fresh produce, eggs, lard soap and sceletium all from our farm from 9h-15h. Look out for the man in the black skirt…….
Do we wait for the laws to change or do we bend them so they change faster? Whatever you decide we all know the luxury of doing nothing has passed!

Seen on the pictures: fat neck chops traditionally brined and green cured then smoked with French oak and bay leaf they go by the loving name “banters orgasm”.

Karoo Lamb:

Braeside Butchery (Parkhurst, JHB) – Retail

Farmer Angus (Western Cape) – Wholesale beef

Oak Valley Pork – Wholesale pork, beef

Cure Deli – Retail

Elfi Frylink – – Wholesale pork

Cloete Afrikaners – Wholesale beef

Willem – grass fed beef in Limpopo  078 955 4130

Brenda Thlabane Hammanskraal Free Range Grass Fed Beef: 083 442 6907

Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants –

The Red Barn Free Range Chicken and Eggs – George

Masada Farm free range chicken – Pretoria, Centurion, Witbank, Middelburg

Natural Meat – Semi free range, hormone and antibiotic free chicken delivered from the farm to areas in Gauteng.

Boomplaats Organic Free Range Beef – visit to see retail outlets in the JHB and PTA areas

To see why you should support free range farming and vote with your purchasing power against factory farming, visit this link

Farmers, Avoid Signing Exclusive Contracts

This article is about a specific case that was submitted anonymously, so while we can’t vouch for the legitimacy of the information we do agree that it highlights the disadvantages of exclusive contracts and their potential for being exploited.

An anonymous user has emailed us to warn farmers NOT to sign exclusive supplier agreements with Woolworths. If they need product badly enough they will buy, you do not need to exclusively supply only to Woolworths. Apparently Woolworths sometimes stops using a supplier after a few months and because that supplier was exclusively selling to Woolworths they go into debt. Woolworths then steps in to buy the failing company and “rescue” the owner from debt.

Woolworths received a lot of criticism recently when they were caught selling 460g loaves of bread as 700g. This is very misleading, no matter what their excuse is. There are also reports of them stealing designs from independent designers. So with all this negative press it’s not that hard to believe they might do something as shady as the aforementioned scenario. All we can say is, be careful…

afgri logo

AFGRI leads the way in support of agricultural development

AFGRI leads the way in support of agricultural development

AFGRI, South Africa’s preeminent agricultural services and food processing company, was delisted from the JSE two years ago. During this time, the strategic imperative put in place by the company – to drive food security across the continent – has delivered an array of tangible results.

Today marks two years since AFGRI was taken private by an investment consortium that included both international and local shareholders, and company management. Michael Wilkerson, Chairman of AFGRI and a director of AFGRI’s largest shareholder says, “AgriGroupe is pleased with the progress made by the company to date in pursuing its strategic goals, which included improving its core operations and customer service, expanding into Africa, strengthening its balance sheet and divesting non-core assets, while taking the lead in supporting development and transformation in the agricultural sector in South Africa.”

He goes onto elaborate, “I am pleased to report that AFGRI now operates in 19 African countries in which we’re making a meaningful contribution to agriculture and the grain value chain, whether through storage and post-harvest solutions, credit and other financial products, training, John Deere equipment, commodity marketing, collateral management or industrial foods processing.” Mr. Wilkerson noted that “within eighteen months of the acquisition, AFGRI’s B-BBEE level improved from a level 5 to a Level 3 Contributor Status.”

In June 2015, AFGRI sold its Poultry business to a local consortium which included members of Bafepi Agri, a 20% shareholder of AFGRI. This transaction successfully created Daybreak Poultry, now South Africa’s largest Black owned and operated poultry operation, and enabled AFGRI to better focus on its core grain management and financial services businesses.  AFGRI continues to support Daybreak through credit facilities, ongoing technical support and provision of feeds and other key inputs.


“AFGRI has embarked on an immensely successful training and mentorship programme for emerging farmers in South Africa and across the continent in support of our dedication to agricultural sector development and transformation,” says Chris Venter, the CEO of AFGRI.

Venter explains that in February 2014 AFGRI entered into an agreement with the Economic Development Department, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in terms of which AFGRI pledged R90 million over a period of four years to the development of emerging farmers, as well as towards other projects targeted at community and rural development. Halfway through the implementation of the agreement, a total of about R35 million has been channelled through to the initiatives, with an overwhelmingly positive response from the farmers, communities and government departments involved.

“These are not only economic success stories for our emerging farmers, but for the thousands of lives meaningfully improved in their communities,” Venter went on to say. “Everything we do in our initiative, aptly named Harvest Time, is measured and monitored.  The input we provide through training and especially the mentorship programme is what sets us apart.” He explains that AFGRI has nine decades of experience combined with up-to-date services, which assists emerging farmers immensely. Not only does AFGRI provide access to finance, which is a challenge for emerging farmers, but state-of-the-art solutions such as precision farming technology with agronomist input provided through a joint venture with GeoAgro, a leading provider of satellite-based data and analysis. Technology-linked offerings such as these are vital for farming in the 21st century, as they vastly improve crops, save money, add to efficiencies and ultimately lead to improved yields.

“The cycle is self-fulfilling in that the emerging farmer is able, with guidance from AFGRI, to access markets, store grain, sell produce in an active market, repay working capital loans and then most importantly, retain and invest the profits. The training and mentorship component is invaluable as this provides input from experts to guide, train, listen to and engage with the farmer – often this type of encouragement and support is the most valuable as it feels like a true partnership,” said Venter. AFGRI is involved in initiatives which take emerging farmers out of poverty and a subsistence existence, to a situation where they are able to feed themselves, produce enough to sell and to advance from small-scale farming to create medium-sized enterprises.

“Increasing profitability ensures that our emerging farmers will become successful commercial farmers, actively contributing to food security in our country. It is our ambition that these farmers will grow to a size where they will even be able to export and thus secure food for the continent,” added Venter.  With this comes the ability to increase land planted, either by leasing or buying the land. “We have one emerging farmer who began by planting 120 ha, increasing this to 236 ha, then 540 ha and the goal for the coming season is to plant 1,000 ha. Although still small relative to commercial farmers, this is an example of how small farmers take the otherwise insurmountable steps to become larger successful farmers,” he said.

“Harvest Time is also involved in a micro-farmer programme which in the past two years trained over 250 micro-farmers, resulting in the establishment of several community vegetable gardens, which provide sustainable food and livelihoods in their communities,” says Marion Shikwinya, Managing director Harvest Time.

AFGRI’s support to the agricultural sector does not stop there. Over the past six months, the company has spent at least R20 million on several drought relief initiatives in South Africa. This included the donation of animal feeds, capping storage rates, as well as assisting in the provision of some animal feed products at discounted prices. “At AFGRI our relationships with clients are for life.  This means that when times are tough, we need to stand side-by-side,” says Wilkerson.

Vaughn McTaggart, AFGRI’s Head of Agricultural Development Services (“ADS”), explains “ADS is an AFGRI initiative active in Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where a father figure (“Abba”) is found within a community to assist in unlocking the potential of small-scale farmers to fully explore their ability to ensure efficient land usage. With investment from AFGRI the results have been astounding. “Africa is a fertile continent – all we need to assist with is the tools to make it work and we believe that we can help by being an enabler to food security.” Once again the benefits of time, money, expertise and guidance is immense and social upliftment a key benefit of the programme.

The main aim of the programme is to take small-scale farmers, currently subsistence farming, and build them into semi-commercial farmers through daily assistance and guidance. This guidance, coupled with stewardship of money and life skills, ensures that the project has the potential for expansion as local product demand is currently much higher than production levels.

“Our Zambian Abba Horticultural Project is key to poverty alleviation and transformation and has been acknowledged by the President of the country, as well as the well-known Royal Barotse establishment. These are accreditations that we are proud of as they are touching the hearts of the people and ensuring food and sustainable livelihoods are maintained,” explained Venter. Not only has acclaim been forthcoming, but the farmers recently learnt that their products will be sold across the border in Namibia in the town of Katima Mulilo, through a local South African retailer.

In Uganda the Abba Mechanisation Circle provides farmers with access to mechanisation, which is purchased by AFGRI and made available to them through a rental arrangement. The provision of mechanisation, which is often used in a co-operative-type setting, makes a significant impact on yields and time, allowing the farmers to diversify and also limits risk. Once harvesting takes place ADS assists further by providing storage facilities so that the aggregation of the crop means that larger quantities of grain can be sold into the market.

In Zimbabwe the Abba Training College follows the principles of allocating 1 ha (of land under irrigation) to one student, with a two to three-year training programme in place. Students grow butternut, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cabbage and maize. Proceeds from the sale of produce allows for the students to be trained, as well as to be accommodated at no cost. Young upcoming farmers are also engaged to assist in the development of the African market environment for smallholder farmers through AFGRI’s larger agricultural models. “The initiative is a sustainable model, and can be replicated anywhere in Africa,” said Venter.

“The consistent theme throughout these initiatives is AFGRI’s commitment to foster a strong, vibrant and successful agricultural economy on the continent.  This is a sector through which we can make a meaningful contribution to the lives of those with which we partner and to which the benefit of food security flows,” noted Wilkerson. He explained that no matter which country or market AFGRI is involved, the company strives to develop and care for its customers. This comes in the form of imparting knowledge gained from its nine decades in business, as well as from financial support, mentorship, agricultural services or the provision of agricultural equipment and inputs.  Wilkerson concluded, “AFGRI’s success will only be found in the long-term prosperity of our farmers, to whom we remain dedicated in both ‘lean and fat years’”.

 AFGRI’s human stories from across the continent:

 In Mpumalanga Solomon Masango now has a 617 ha farm and recently won Farmer of the Year with Grain SA

Humble beginnings meant that Salomon originally farmed on 50 ha but three years ago this started to change when he joined the AFGRI Harvest Time training and development programme. Here he garnered much-needed training in the form of in-class training, on-farm technical training with agronomists, personal development, as well as basic computer training. Monitoring and mentorship took the form of regular visits to the farm, assistance in managing accounts to ensure payments to input suppliers were made, as well as assistance with pre-season budgeting and spending. From the humble 50 ha, Solomon has developed into farming on just over 400 ha, made up of 140 ha of maize, 260 ha of soya beans and 20 ha of sugar beans. Yields have increased so that he is now able to produce between 6 to 9 tons per ha of maize and 1,5 to 3 tons per ha of soya beans and Solomon’s farm is run with equipment he was able to finance from the profits.  The training, mentorship and development programme from AFGRI Harvest Time has helped Solomon learn the latest advanced techniques and by winning Farmer of the Year he walked away with a brand new tractor from John Deere, which will make his operation even more efficient.

Zambia, AFGRI’s Abba Horticulture Model at work

This project is based in western Zambia, 200 km from Livingstone with the closest town being Sesheke. The project aims for a process of total transformation in an extremely poor community. Over the past two years the area has been impacted by severe drought, with exceptionally low rainfall. Five farmers are part of the programme, each with an average of 2 ha used for the production of tomatoes, green maize, green peppers and cabbage. Each farm is provided with diesel pumps and a dripline irrigation system. Farmers are trained in farming techniques, provided with ideas on how to access markets and financial management and budgeting. They then in turn train farmers in the area in order to expand the “Good-Farming Practice” footprint and improve and impact more lives and the most unexpected consequence of AFGRI’s involvement is that these five subsistence farmers are creating approximately 1,000 part time jobs.

The measure of a successful project in a community in need is only once the entire community benefits. In the case of Abba Zambia the project feeds approximately 170 children every Sunday and distributes maize to local churches monthly for onward distribution to widows and orphans. In addition, a popular “work for food programme” has been launched that provides food for more than 50 casual workers every week.

In the Nkangala district of Mpumalanga yields are improving

In this case, a farmer began farming in 2011 cultivating a mere 150 ha of maize. In 2012 he joined the AFGRI Harvest Time training and development programme. Through a mixture of training, monitoring and mentorship the business has grown to 640 ha, which comprises 300 ha of white maize, 300 ha of soya beans and 40 ha of sugar beans. Initial yields were 500kg per ha, but today yields are up at between 4 to 7 tons per ha of maize and soya and 1 to 2 tons per ha of sugar beans.  The farmer improved his mechanisation with the purchase of a six-row planter and a harvester head for soya and maize, bought through access to the Harvest Time hire purchase funding model to help grow his farming operations further.

In Metsweding, Gauteng, Skhosana Dingazi is flourishing

In the 2013/2014 season Harvest Time met Skhosana for the first time. Only 68 ha had been planted using a planter which was incorrectly calibrated creating large, inefficient gaps amongst the maize plants. This led to an infestation of weeds. The AFGRI Harvest Time training programme, which Skhosana embarked upon included farmer study groups, in-class training, basic computer training, and on-farm assistance by agronomists, which also ensured that confidence in his skills and ability, coupled with mentorship, was engrained. Finance provided through AFGRI Harvest Time ensured that he could purchase an additional 22 ha of land, bringing the total to 100 ha. Weed management is also under control, with an excellent crop on the land. Full repayment of the production loan has been made, and the next step is to plant 120 ha. This is made possible through the confidence to lease additional land as well as having a true partner where farming matters can be discussed and the best course of action implemented.

In Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng, with a little help from friends, a farming operation is thriving

AFGRI’s Harvest Time initiative came across a farmer who was demotivated and found farming to be hard, as he had found that there was very little practical experience offered in the market place. Overall management of the farm was poor and as a result his 345 ha was overrun by weeds. He joined the AFGRI Harvest Time programme where a dedicated relationship was established between himself and Harvest Time, AFGRI mentors, and GeoAgro agronomists and where he now has access to training, finance and a helping hand. The farmer is now motivated and has exceeded all expectations, despite such a challenging agricultural year. A zest for life has seen overall management of the farm and staff improve, with a crop on the land, which is set to be exceptional.

A portion of the R90 million is invested in social development projects

Corporate social investment at AFGRI hinges on education, food and water security as well as poverty alleviation and across all projects impact assessment is continually measured. In six educational projects, more than 1,000 learners are assisted through mechanisms such as annual tuition fees, donations for schooling requirements from chairs to groceries and costs allocated to the Kimon programme. The impact of our involvement includes outstanding pass rates, increased attendance, freeing up time for teachers to focus on the curricula and environment which are safe and which have running water.

Six projects dedicated to food and water security have assisted learners, staff and have put trainers in place. Again measurable impacts include the provision of fresh vegetables to the community, income generation, personal pride, food security, job creation and security and access to fresh water.

In five projects aimed at poverty alleviation, 1,630 beneficiaries, consisting of children and community members, have been assisted. Positive measurable impacts have included access to a sustainable source of fresh vegetables, drinking water, and balanced nutrition for children and safe houses with comfortable and sufficient sleeping space.


Malawi cracks down on food smugglers seeking more profit

Note: We supply legal maize from SA, Mexico and sometimes Zambia.

Malawi has tightened its border controls to stop profiteers smuggling much-needed maize out of the
country in search of higher prices. Months of drought have left more than a third of the population
reliant on food aid, and last month the government invoked the Special Crops Act, which bans the
export of some crops.
The government deployed soldiers to seal its porous borders with Tanzania and Zambia, and
impounded trucks that are smuggling out the staple crop in pursuit of more profit. Malawi police
have also been searching vehicles on roads that lead to the borders.
The size of the trucks stopped by the police suggests that large-scale traders may be involved. “Over
a period of two days, we impounded 26 trucks loaded with white maize as they were heading to
Chitipa [a district bordering Zambia and Tanzania],” said Enock Livasoni, a police spokesman in
Karonga district which borders Tanzania. Police in Chitipa detained at least 17 similar trucks carrying
white maize last month, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Severe floods in 2015, followed by major drought in 2016, left 6.7-million of the 17-million
Malawians in need of food aid, according to UN agencies. This year’s harvest recently began and has
eased the situation, although the World Food Programme says updated hunger figures are not yet
available. Its emergency food-aid operations ended last month, as planned.
International aid agencies in Malawi say maize smuggling has increased as traders seek the higher
prices paid in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Severe drought in Kenya has left some
2.6-million people in need of food aid, and a protracted crisis in war-torn Congo means about 6.7-
million rely on food aid there.
Local groups question whether corrupt police officers have been involved in the smuggling,
particularly in Chitipa and Karonga districts. “The way things are happening is as though the police
are complicit in this act,” said Grecian Mbewe, district co-ordinator for Chitipa and Karonga at the
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, a non-governmental organisation.
Deputy spokesman for the northern region police headquarters, Maurice Chapola, denied the
corruption claims. “If those making the allegations have evidence, let them come forward with
names of the corrupt officers and we shall forthwith investigate and prosecute these officers,” he
said in a phone interview.
Malawian farmers are required to sell their surplus to local vendors and traders. Traders resell it
across the country or to the National Food Reserve Agency, which stores maize and releases it mainly
in response to humanitarian crises. Traders can only export maize, the country’s main staple crop, if
they have special clearance from the government. Such clearance has not been granted since 2008
when Malawi started experiencing a downturn in its harvests.
Maize smuggled to Zambia and Tanzania — from where it can be sold to other countries — fetches
higher prices than at home.
A 50kg bag of white maize sells on average for 11,000 Malawian kwacha ($15) in towns and cities in
Malawi. Journalists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania say the same amount fetches the equivalent of 17,000
kwacha ($23). “If such smuggling continues, local [maize] supplies will continue to dwindle,” said
Mbewe. “As a result, the poor will not be able to afford the price of [maize], which will rise with any
increase in demand.”

Karen Sanje, Reuters/Thomson Reuters Foundation, 20 April 2017

non GMO maize, white

Non GMO white maize from Mafikeng South Africa for sale

Price: R2500

Minimum order: 1000 tons (Price goes up considerably for smaller quantities)

Mexican maize.

The featured product image is of other maize not this specific maize, updated image to follow shortly. But the maize is all from the supplier and product quality and color is nearly identical.

South African non GMO maize is of superior quality, as is all South African maize. However, this Grade 1 Mexican maize comes a close second. Colour is nice and uniform, aflotoxins zero – to – below 1ppb, and moisture is below 14%, usually around 13.5%. Competitive price makes this a great choice for export to neighbouring countries.

Buying Procedure

We aim to make buying a simple and straightforward process. Please do not contact us for a quotation until all financing and permits are in place. Once you are ready, submit your company KYC documents as per the requirements on our CO and we will set up an escrow account which is managed by FNB. EFTs are also accepted, we accept both ZAR and USD payments. Once Escrow account is funded or EFT is processed, we will arrange a meeting at the silo where the maize is held and/or at our offices n Johannesburg for final arrangements.

Samples of the maize are available at a cost of between R350 and R600 depending on the distance from the silo to the delivery address.

Brokers are welcome, please speak to us about how we can facilitate the sales process.

We are licenced exporters and can also provide bagging, transportation, warehousing and all other related services. Trade references available on request


non GMO white maize

Non GMO White Maize – 5000 tons available @ R3600 p/MT

Price: R3600 per MT

Location: Ex silo Migdol, North West Province, South Africa

Imported from: Mexico

5000 tons available.

For more information please visit the Product Profile

South Africa produces some of the best white maize in the world but does not farm much non GMO maize. Ethical Suppliers endeavors to support local product over imports as far as possible and offers both local and imported non GMO white maize.

This maize was imported from Mexico last year around August and is currently in a rail-linked silo in Migdol, North West province in South Africa. The maize is irrigated and not as hard as South African maize but is perfectly suitable for milling and other applications if the consumer would like a lower priced option to South African maize. Mexico also does not grow GM crops so there is no cross pollination occurring with GM crops. Mexico is the “birthplace” of maize, or corn as it is commonly called, and there are various groups in Mexico dedicated to preserving heritage seed.

How To Dairy Farm Ethically

The dairy industry is the subject of many attacks by vegans, in fact it is called the “rape and murder” industry. This is because females are impregnated using artificial insemination.

Below is an excerpt taken from the Society for the Advancement of Animal Wellbeing website:

In modern times, to obtain high yields of milk at low cost and optimal efficiency, the cow has been turned into a piece of machinery, whose sole purpose in life is to produce milk.

Let’s look now at the dairy industry’s standard for milk production, bearing in mind that this is a factual account of the agricultural process and not a presentation of isolated incidents.

To produce milk a female cow must be made pregnant so as to lactate to feed her offspring. Thus at the tender age of 15 months female dairy cows are forced into pregnancy through artificial insemination. This process is extremely painful for the animals, as inexperienced farm workers often restrain the animals in a “rape rack” as it is known in the industry and use a metal rod to forcefully inseminate them.

An even more painful method of inducing pregnancy that has become increasingly popular is embryo implantation, in which embryos are grown in one cow and physically implanted in another.

A cow’s gestation period is nine months, the same as that of humans. After a calf is born, if it is female, she is raised as a dairy cow; if it is male he may be slaughtered on site with a sledgehammer and then its blood is drained or it is taken away to be turned into veal. The separation of mother and calf is extremely distressing to both; cries are often heard as mother and child call after one another.

Milk, anyone?

The lactating mother cow is then chained by its neck and kept in a confined shed that allows it virtually no movement. There is no grazing on green grass, but instead these natural herbivores are fed high-protein pellet mixtures containing material from other dead animals including cows. So not only are dairy cows turned into carnivores but cannibals as well. This roughage-free and pathogen-filled diet often causes cows to become malnourished and can cause brain-rotting diseases such as mad-cow disease or BSE.

Young dairy cows then have vacuum machines attached to their teats or udders, and their milk is painfully sucked out. Dairy cows are milked 365 days a year, and in order to get Holstein dairy cows to lactate year round they are continually kept pregnant, meaning that two to three months after giving birth they are painfully impregnated again and this process continues for the rest of their short lives.

To boost production further, the cows are also injected with bovine growth hormone, which could cause birth defects and even various cancers in humans. Current methods mean that Holsteins produce ten times as much milk as they would normally, or approximately 100 pounds per day. This inappropriately high level of milk production and the methods of obtaining it leave the animals extremely sick and prone to both bacterial and viral infections.

Other conditions that these poor creatures often suffer from are milk fever caused by a lack of calcium, which also leads to osteoporosis, meaning that the cows often suffer from broken bones just from walking or slipping. The most common affliction affecting 50% of all dairy herds is chronic mastitis, a painful, sore infection of the udder. However, the cows are still milked, causing blood and pus from their infections to end up in the milk consumed by humans.

Up to 750-million pus cells per liter have been measured in milk products. To try to reduce this condition, the cows are pumped full of antibiotics. Also, the udders of dairy cows get so disproportionately large that their hind legs are permanently spread, causing lameness. The animals are continuously prodded with electrical rods in order to get them to move back to urinate and excrete in gutters.

Thus dairy cows’ living conditions are extremely unhygienic and cause foot rot and other diseases. The natural life span of a dairy cow is 25 years under normal conditions but under current factory-farming methods this span is reduced to three to five years. So what happens when a dairy cow is no longer useful? The answer is, it is turned into ground beef for burgers and other such reconstituted meat products.

As you can see, the modern dairy industry is animal cruelty which is allowed because it is very profitable and people LOVE milk and cheese, ice cream, cappuccinos, etc. But the dairy industry doesn’t have to be cruel and the dairy farmers listed on are carefully selected and represent the most ethical farming practices possible.

Firstly, artificial insemination is not used. Reproduction takes place the way Nature intended. All the animals are allowed to graze freely in grassy pastures in sunlight and shade and fresh air. Nothing like the filthy pens (or sterile concrete uncomfortable cubicles) that factory farmed dairy cows have to endure.

The calves are not immediately separated on birth but are allowed to suckle from their mothers. After a few months they are weaned using temporary nose rings that DO NOT require the nose to be pierced. More information supplied by the Spirited Rose Homestead Dairy:

  • First, non-milking animals have a natural plug in each teat. Sucking softens the tissue and causes the teat to unplug, allowing in potentially pathogenic bacteria.
  • Second, sucking on another heifer’s teats or udder area (also referred to as “udder promise”) can lead to tissue damage or mastitis.
    • Tissue damage is often not noticeable, until the heifer calves and becomes a cow. Severe tissue damage creates a “blind quarter” – which is a quarter that creates no milk ever. It usually looks much smaller, because it does not stretch out with milk secreting tissue (hence the name “blind”). Less severe damage may result in odd lumps, reduced production, etc.
    • Mastitis will often tend to be noticeable (redness, heat, swelling, hardness) and can occur to bred or unbred, milking or dry animals. If noticed in a non-milking animal, mastitis should still be properly treated and milked out to flush out the infected material.

So the rings are used to either wean the calves or to prevent damage to the other cows who are perhaps ill, too young, old or in an otherwise non-milking state. The ring does not hurt the calf but makes it uncomfortable for the cow being suckled so the cow will move away from the calf.

This may not be perfect for most vegans, but it is much much better than the usual way of dairy farming. And the preferred supplier for the JHB region, Moira Hampson Dairy, only charges R10 per litre so the price is not much higher than the cruelly farmed milk found in the shops. To buy ethically produced dairy products visit this link:


Tutorial: How To Grow Many Hectares of Maize Organically


This is about where we’re at to plant on time, get good germination and save labour!

Clear residue out of planting rows to facilitate easy planting with the dibble stick. Use rope or follow last years rows to get straight lines.
Make sure you’ve ‘scratched’ clear the rows before the 15th of November!
Make sure the manure is as close to the field as possible before the rains start. Remember – always cover the manure to save nutrients!
Follow the scratch lines and punch holes with the dibble stick.
Make holes 35-40cm apart in the row.
Plant maize and pigeon pea in the same hole. 2 seeds maize 3-4 seeds pigeon pea.
Cover with loose soil to make sure the soil falls down to the base of the hole.
For maize, residues are cleared before the first planting date (NOV 15th for us). This year we were also chipping weeds in the rows due to the early rains. A line can be used if you can’t follow the rows from last year. All our dry land crops are planted on 90cm row spacing.
Here, pigeon pea is planted together with the maize. 3/4 seeds of pigeon pea to 2 seeds of maize. Hole are made 35-40cm apart in the row.
Seeds are either covered with well decomposed manure or, as shown in this picture, with loose soil. If you use soil to cover the seeds, the soil must fill the hole and no air pocket should be left in the hole.
Here, perennial green manures (Stylosanthes Guainensis in this case) grow between the rows and will later be slashed back to release nitrogen. One person makes holes, one throws seed and the other covers with manure.
Here silverleaf desmodium grows between maize rows.
Slashed green manures allow the crop to grow on and cuttings decompose and release nitrogen into the soil.
Ooops! Here maize is planted between established pigeon pea plants. After planting, pigeon pea is cut back to form a mulch which decomposes to add nutrients to the soil. The pigeon pea grows back with the maize.
Maize germinating with climbing beans.
With silverleaf desmodium as a permanent ground cover, weeds are cut back 2 or three time during the growing season and left to grow in the canopy of the maize. The deep rooting silverleaf provides livestock with high quality forage throughout the dry season.
Maize grows faster than the pigeon pea so there is no competition on the maize crop. Pigeon pea grows together with the maize in the same planting station – this allows for efficient weeding. Where pigeon pea is planted between the rows, weeding becomes slow and often many pigeon pea plants are killed during weeding.
2-3 weeks after slashing the weeds back, manure is applied as a top dressing just before the final weeding.
Top dressing with manure.
Maize is almost mature and the pigeon pea grows on in the canopy.
Here velvet bean grows up the maize plants.

How to Tell the Difference Between Poison Hemlock and Queen Anne's Lace

by Gabe Garms

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) is one of the deadliest plants in North America and can be fatal if just a small amount is ingested. It has been in flower here in Washington for the last month or so and can be found across much of the United States. It grows (often in dense patches) along roads, trails and the edges of fields and streams. I actually have it growing in my back yard, right along side one of it’s most common look-a-likes, Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota).

Queen Anne’s lace is a wild edible (the root) and given that it typically does grow in the same conditions as poison hemlock, being able to tell the difference could save your life. Plus, you’ll want to know if you have it growing on your property because it’s also toxic to pets and livestock. So let’s walk through how to identify both so that you can confidently identify them in the future.

Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) vs. Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota):

1. Both are in the Apiaceae family and have hollow stems, but poison hemlock’s stem is hairless and has purple blotches. Even a very young poison hemlock will display the purple blotching. On the other hand, the stem of Queen Anne’s lace doesn’t have purple blotches and is hairy. See the photos below for a comparison.

Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus Carota)


Poison Hemlock (conium maculatum)


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