Thanks to Teresa Fischer and the People’s Post for the following article and picture.

 Green is ‘more cost effective’

 By Teresa Fischer

 

SAYING HELLO: Akim Riemer with Rosie and Daisy on the Green Guerrillas’ farm in Sun Valley, where action takes priority over talk.  Photo:  Teresa FischerSTOMPING around the farm in his boots with braces holding up his shorts, Akim Riemer’s unconventional look matches his thinking.

 

He is the founder of the Green Guerrillas, an environmental group which aims to “lead a revolution against our own complacency”.

 

Riemer takes People’s Post on a whirlwind tour of his Sunnydale farm, providing an intriguing glimpse into the future of urban, sustainable farming.

 

Outside the pig pen, he stoops to grab a handful of sand – saying the major challenge for farming in the Western Cape is presented by barren beach sand. “We are farming soil,” he explains.

 

That’s where the pigs come in; they put the life back into the soil. Within 27 days the pigs, with the help of anaerobic bacteria, create two tons of “black, growing sand” by digging waste through the sand. Two of his pigs came from a medical research facility and had never seen soil or sunlight. They have to be kept in a shaded place to prevent their soft, white skin getting sunburnt.

 

“The pig is the fourth most intelligent animal in the world and also the first domesticated by man,” he remarks.

 

Other animals on the property include Rosie and Daisy, the pregnant cows. Dusty chickens peck around among the chocolate brown bovines.

 

“A chicken can eat 300 ticks in 30 minutes,” he shares.

 

And his millions of worms can process one ton of organic matter within 24 hours, turning into vermicast. The organic waste is collected from Fish Hoek Primary School every Friday. A little “worm psychology” and they are “compost-making machines”. He explains in happy conditions they will eat their own body weight in a day.

 

Further along, an old bath is filled to the brim with dog faeces, sprouting lush tomato plants and other vegetables. Here the worms are also at work. Riemer says they have the toughest job on the farm – poo patrol – converting faecal matter into fertile soil, but are happy as the proverbial pigs.

 

Another of the farm’s experiments is creating cost-effective probiotic fertiliser. Riemer jokes the brown liquid bubbling away in wheelie bins looks like a witch’s brew. The mixture includes worm poop, herbs, seaweed and molasses.

 

Riemer says there is a good reason to “step over to the dark side of compost brewing” because plants will last longer without water compared to soil “broken by chemicals”. Adding the brew to soil results in triple the yield.

 

One of the core beliefs of the Guerrillas is that “greener should be cheaper”.

 

Riemer insists it is possible to grow food in a low-cost way, especially by using waste. “We have been brainwashed into thinking about waste as something we can’t use,” he says.

 

“We have engineered ourselves out of nature,” says Riemer. “People must question their weakness of being controlled by the access to food and water, turning us into batteries powering a machine that has no accountability to our future.”

 

Contact Riemer on 072 424 8239 or email general@greenguerrillas.co.za. Or search for the Green Guerrillas on Facebook.