We are a close-knit team with skills and experience in the world of permaculture, activism, biotechnology, art and design, education and food systems work.
Emilia loves being barefoot in nature and playing with soil. She is co-director of Sustainable Abundance Permaculture and loves sustainable design and natural building practices. Within SFTG, she establishes and maintains relationships with local organic farmers and compiles and sources the wonderful, and sometimes weird, herbs, fruits and veggies found in the CSA boxes each week. She also gets stuck into our on-site urban farm activities and adores spending therapeutic time with our beautifully plump chickens.
Mpho is a farmer and trainer of farmers, as well co-director of Sustainable Abundance Permaculture. He has a flair for gourmet food and unusual combinations of food and herbs. He is really knowledgeable about chickens and more fond of them than he lets on, with his composed, martial-arts conditioned demeanour. He has a passion for nature, systems theory, philosophy, drawing, design and behavioural science. He is a critical and analytical thinker who enjoys problem solving, developing ideas and likes nothing more than to see a well-executed strategy.
Happy hails from the Northern Region of Malawi and has been in South Africa for 10 years. Back home he and his family grow maize, pumpkin, watermelon and a variety of other crops, which is where he first got started with growing food. A jack of all trades, Happy has been a shopkeeper, a plumber and a handyman. He has been at REEA since 2012. Happy has been training with SA Permaculture towards a Permaculture Design Certificate to be completed at the end of 2020.
She is driven by a passion for a more just food system. In the last few years she has travelled for over 8000 kilometres to meet and link people involved with seed sovereignty.
Claire’s role in the project is to hold and design the vision and to manage and weave relationships.
Cornelius has been involved with the REEA gardens for the last 7 years and prior to that was working in private gardens in Johannesburg. He comes from Tsholotsho in Zimbabwe, where he had his first introduction to agriculture through school and through his role in growing a variety of vegetables and maize on his family’s land.
Since working with Straight from the Ground from the beginning of the year, he has been working towards a Permaculture Design Certificate with SA Permaculture which will be completed by the end of 2020.
Matthew left a job in the formal landscaping industry and founded Straight from the ground in 2016 as part of his pursuit and passion for living systems. He is a qualified horticulturist working in the arboricultural sector as a tree specialist.
His main interests and endeavours include soil biology and the food web, mycology and the use of technologies for the optimisation of living systems, Matthew has a vested interest and a directorial role in straight from the ground as part of his commitment to the regenerative revolution and merging his passions with solutions and living systems wherever possible is the driving force behind all he does.
Sven loves seeing things grow, nurturing plants, cultivating fungi or building ground-breaking projects with like-minded and passionate individuals. Trained in industrial design and enjoying working with his hands, he is the resident maker at STFG, so find him in his workshop or on the farm building something functional and beautiful, which will often integrate into living systems and provide learning experiences.