Last week Wednesday, G and I traveled from our home in Cape Town, towards what would be one of the most well-spent days in a long time.
We arrived at Camphill Village on the West Coast around ten in the morning, greeted by all things good about farm life - singing birds, whistling insects, and a vast space of green peppered with trees I couldn't hope to remember the names of. Bubbly Camphill marketing matriarch, Janine, met us warmly and we all set off on a tour.
Camphill is a resident facility for intellectually-challenged adults, and a hip and happening kinda place. The old-timey villagesque feel that Camphill's facilitators have cultivated has served to make it a space where people are given the chance to thrive.
Residents are heavily involved in the production of Camphill's many baller goods (available at these stockists), and make their way from this work to their homes and the on-site shop, in a routine that many of us take for granted.
Scroll for a bit more on their work.
The beauty workshop
You guys, this was heaven! Janine took us through a brief tour of the skincare workshop, and G and I got to see where all the Camphill cosmetics are so thoughtfully made with herbs grown right there on the property. Camphill are famous for their Jojoba oil, but they've also got a range of awesome creams, soaps, deodorants, and more.
I was pretty nervous to see the dairy. As a vegan, dairies traditionally aren't my go-to's for a fun day out. But I was pleasantly surprised.
At Camphill, they don't practice artificial insemination, they let their cows roam free and feed on grass, and they only milk four cows at a time, making sure each cow is healthy and safe before milking.
If you're a vegetarian, flexitarian, or transitioning vegan, Camphill's as organic-as-they-come diary products are perfect for you. Hit them up on one of their market days and you might just get to taste some of the yummiest chocolate yoghurt ever made, ever!
Please see more about my stance on dairy at the bottom of this post.
Max is head honcho at the bakery, and the brilliant man in the featured image of this post. As part of the staff, Max blew our minds with his pride and passion in explaining how the bakery worked, and the principles he and his fellow bakers practice.
In this bakery, Max explained, you'll find simple ingredients used well, mixed in with a healthy dollop of good vibes and twenty years of expertise.
Check out Camphill's list of baked goods and where to find them around South Africa. You could also pop by the bakery stall on market day (next is 6th November), to get your bread fix - that way you'll be able to meet Max in person!
'Get Your Strong On Yoga' Marathon
Our visit to Camphill was incredible, as I knew it would be. But it was around the time that G and I were breaking bread with some of the residents and staff that I knew my life had changed forever.
If there's any way you can get involved with the amazing work Camphill do - work I'm afraid my words have failed to give due justice - please do. They're always looking for volunteers, and financial support. You can also show your love by buying Camphill goodies, and visiting them on market day.
The more active among you might also want to take a look at the 'Get Your Strong On' yoga marathon that we've set up to raise funds for Camphill's upcoming solar-powered 'Off the Grid' music festival. It's going to be ah-mazing!
If you like what you saw here, you can check out Camphill on Twitter, Facebook, and through their website. They're doing some great things (like their investments in renewable energy) and have even more lined up for the near future.
See ya in the next post, boo!
Why feature dairy products if you're vegan?
This is a fair question, and I appreciate you taking the time to keep me honest. I'm what's called a utilitarian vegan. This is a form of veganism based on the work of ethics philosopher, Peter Singer.
This rational places veganism as a moral imperative after reaching the conclusion that veganism is the best and most moral solution to a number of different ethical issues not limited to animal welfare, health, and the environment.
This outcome is a broad-stroke solution to case-by-case problems in the areas mentioned above, but it is still subject to individual variables. For example, I don't think that eating meat is immoral if not eating it would kill you - as in the case of starvation. That's an extreme, but we can put it another way by summarising what it stands for - that veganism is a moral default that may be overridden given that a situation is so pressing as to make not being vegan less of an ill than being one.
At Camphill, I weighed the situation up. We were guests of a community that are doing wonderful things for people who are too often marginilised in our society. The milk, yoghurt, rusks, and cheese that we were offered were produced without factory farm horrors. I didn't think it was an appropriate time to be a vegan lobbyist. These factors together contributed to my decision to eat vegetarian on my visit to Camphill. They were the numbers I punched in to my utilitarian vegan calculator.
I know some of you will be disappointed, and your utilitarian equation may look a lot different to mine, but I hope you understand that I made my decision for me at the time. To borrow a line from the Vegan South Africa group, we all do vegan differently, but we're stronger together.