Miss Earth & EcoProducts

Miss Earth SA & EcoProducts

We're excited to be part of the run up to the selection of the new Miss Earth SA on Thursday this week. Tomorrow, Sarah will be meeting the finalists to train them on all things baobab and on Thursday will be attending the event where the new Miss Earth SA will be announced.  In their recent press release, Catherine Constantinides Executive Director of Miss Earth SA said:  “This is an exciting project for us, as it speaks to the essence of the Miss Earth South Africa. The organisation and production of Baobab Oil allows for the empowerment of the local Venda women in this region, while understanding the conservation and sustainability issues that the Baobab Tree is aligned to.”  Women collaborating to nurture the earth. 

Miss Earth SA and EcoProducts – Green Queens all!

Miss Earth and EcoProducts

We're so excited about our collaboration with Miss Earth SA!  There's so much synergy between our two organisations and we're thrilled that they are endorsing EcoProducts Baobab oil.  We love their combination of beauty and eco-savvy as well as their amazing leadership program which serves to encourage and empower young women into leadership positions as nurturing stewards of our beautiful earth. Next week Sarah Venter will be teaching the finalists about all things Baobab and we're so looking forward to the grand event when the next Miss Earth SA 2015 will be announced. We'll be keeping you posted on these Green Queens! 

The Art of Baobab

Baobab tree Thomas Baines

Do you recognise this painting?  Find out how the Baobab has inspired other crafters, artists and photographers. Visit our Baobab Inspiration Pinterest page here: http://www.pinterest.com/ecoproductsza/baobab-inspiration-art-craft-photography/

 

Miss Earth: empowering women, nurturing the earth

Miss Earth and EcoProducts

It's a powerful and magical combination – beauty and leadership – and this is what sisters Catherine and Ella Bella Constantinides set out to achieve with Miss Earth SA.  So much more than a beauty pageant, Miss Earth SA is a leadership program for young women, empowering them to take responsibility, be accountable and make a stand for sustainable stewardship of our earth.  At last night's cocktail event at the Tsogo Sun, the 16 finalists were introduced in all their gorgeousness.  Yes, the dresses were divine, the "power of the sash" in evidence, the mood glamorous and the venue splendid. But behind the glamour and glitz is a determination and will to combat destruction of the earth through the hard work they do; in the words of Ella Bella "to create ambassadors for the planet by empowering women through green education." 

The element of competition is replaced by one of collaboration.  As Catherine said in her speech "Girls compete, real women empower each other" and this message was re-inforced by the current Miss Earth Ashanti Mbanga who said of her "journey of sisterhood" that being the Face of Sustainability had helped her realise that once a Miss Earth, always a Miss Earth – that every young woman who had participated in the program was "already a winner" because of the impact she would have on nurturing the earth in her role as a Miss Earth finalist.

Miss Earth is certainly about beauty.  But it's about finding the powerful inner beauty in nurturing the beauty of our earth. What better way to celebrate Women's day and Women's month.

EcoProducts is proud to be associated with Miss Earth and we were delighted to be invited to the event last night. Here, Nina Geraghty of Switched ON Media (our online media manager) and Jill Bysshe of NEO TRADING (our distributor) are seen with Ashanti Mbanga (who has already started using Baobab oil) along with Nombulelo Mfeka (director of City of CT tourism) and Derek Hanekom (Minister of tourism) and the finalists.

 

 

 

  

RAIN comes to the Limpopo

We were delighted to host Bev Missing from RAIN last week. Her wonderful shops stock exquisite handmade bath, body and homeware products using natural ingredients with African origins. One of those ingredients is Baobab oil and we'll be featuring some of those products in future posts. Bev came to see the source of the baobab oil that she uses in her products, learn about how it is made and meet the harvesters themselves. Here she is walking in the baobabs with harvester Crestina.  

Vibrant African Markets in Baobab Country

Vibrant african markets in baobab country

As always in West Africa, people usually dress in vibrant colors, especially the women. It’s a beautiful sight to see. Around Boukombé, the markets are the most animated during the dry season. People are not otherwise occupied with agricultural labor, and harvests are in, so there is plenty to buy. The temperature that time of the year can be HOT…read more of this lovely blog article here

 

 

Baobab pods in Germany!

Polished and decorated baobab pods found in Germany! Seen at a stand selling exotic seeds, dried flowers and pods from around the world at the Kornelimunster Historische Jahrmarkt in Aachen. What a surprise!

Kubu Island, Makgadikgadi Pan: where rock, salt and baobabs meet

In the 16 000 sq km of  Makgadikgadi Pan (Botswana) lies an isolated dry granite rock island 10 metres high, forming a roughly 1km long crescent shape called Kubu Island. The entire island is a national monument, and is considered a sacred site by the indigenous people of the area.  The almost white rocks (covered in fossilised guano) share space with gigantic fantastically shaped baobabs as well as ancient ruins, Here, a lone baobab emerges from rocks and stones like a sentinel looking over the expanse of the dry saltpan .  

 

 

Beautiful Baobabs: one of the oldest living things in the world

it's on the New York Best Seller List and has been described as a "Beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life, Rachel Sussman has written a wonderful book "The Oldest Living Things in The World"  And of course it's no surprise that she would include our very own magnificant and ancient living treasures. Pictured here, a Baobab tree in Parfuri,  Kruger National Park is dated as possibly as old as 2000 years!

Measuring Baobab girth

It feels a bit like when you mark off the height of your children on the doorpost, but every year in May Diana Mayne, a baobab colleague, and I visit Skelmwater Baobab research plot to do annual growth measurements. This research plot was started in 1931 to measure the annual diameter growth of baobabs. This year was the 83rd measurement and most of the trees got a bit wider due to the good rains, but some years if its very dry, the trees shrink. This little tree is the smallest tree on the plot.

Waiting for the baobab fruit to drop

The area has had lovely late rains, but this has affected our normal fruit harvesting time.  Normally all the fruit would have fallen to the ground by now and been picked up by our harvesters, but this year more than half of them are still on the trees.  So we are waiting for the fruit to drop off the trees… you can't hurry nature! 

2014 Jun: Coppicing Baobabs

When baobabs are still young they are vulnerable to damage.  This young baobab was damaged at the base, but it was helped to survive by coppicing (sprouting).  After a few years most of the coppice shoots die but two or three remain leaving the tree to develop into a multistemed tree which you can clearly see in the photo of the adult tree. 

2014 Jun: Baobablets Abound!

I went to visit Blessing to see how her seedlings are getting on.  Blessing’s seedlings are looking lovely.  They were planted in Feburary this year just after a community training workshop on how to grow baobabs.  Soon the seedlings will lose their leaves for the winter and look like sticks and then in the spring the baobablets will push out new leaves using the nutrition stored in a small underground tuber.  

Miracle Tree!

A few years ago I was called by a local farmer to see some baobabs that were very ill and dying.  There was a group of four baobabs, some of them were still standing and others had already collapsed in to a heap of fibre.  This tree was still standing, but was hot and ‘sweaty’ with droplets on its bark, almost as if it had a fever and I did not think it was going to survive.  This year I visited the site again and found the tree well recovered. They really are remarkably sturdy and resiliant trees!  After decades of living with them and many many years of studying them, I still see there's so much more to learn and wish we understood these trees better…

Which side of the tree are you on?

Which side of the fence, I mean tree, are you on?

Baobabs make fantastic poster boards and on a recent field trip I photographed this tree.  On the one side is a poster of Jacob Zuma (ANC) and on the other side is Julius Malema (EFF).  Tough Choice! 

Ecotrade empowers many women…

…and Annah Mendela is just one of them. After being inspired by previous films made in collaboration with PhytoTrade and EcoProducts, Greg Cameron has created this warm and sensitve portrait of Annah, showing how by collecting baobab fruit for EcoProducts, she has been able to turn her life around.  A short 2.5 minute film that's so beautifully made it will stay with you long after you've watched it. [vimeo id=”9605224″ align=”center” mode=”normal” autoplay=”no”]

 

How baobab’s heal themselves…

Recently, friend and baobab fan Shona sent through this delightful photo taken near Xigera Reserve, Okavango Delta in April this year.  It shows their guide pointing out elephant damage to a baobab tree.  It’s old elephant damage and you can see in the picture how the wound has healed over with new bark.  It’s quite wonderful how baobabs manage to heal themselves in an almost human way by growing new “skin”….

shona's guide Dips - Okavango - showing elephant damage April 2014 350 x 469

 

Baobab Galerie: a unique shop

Baobab Galerie is a unique decor and gift shop in Port Edward, KZN selling an exquisite handmade range of products made of natural fibres such as sisal, raffia, different varieties of reeds and grasses as well as recycled recycled paper and metal.  Alexandre and Michel who own the shop have long been interested in Baobabs, even growing baobab trees, hence the shop name.  The feature of the shop is a 2 meter high metal baobab made from recycled oil drum made by a craftsman in Madagascar and naturally they're now selling Baobab oil, boabab fruit powder and home-made baobab jam!  Their shop is so successful a new shop will be opening soon in Mattison Square between Leisure Bay and Port Edward. Look out for it next time you travel that way.

EcoProducts is out and about in May!

We are HAPPENING this month in the media!  We have an article on baobab oil in Wellness Magazine, our boabab fruit powder is featured in Elle Magazine and we're flying with Mango in their latest inflight magazine! All power to the baobab tree! 

Famous Baobabs: Chapman’s Baobab

This well-known tree has many documented references to it in the journals of early travellers and foreign explorers to the region, many of whom left inscriptions on its massive trunk which can still be seen today. The tree even served as an unofficial post office for these 19th-century explorers.

Dung Beetles and Baobabs

Baobab seeds are relatively large,but it's not an impossibility that that germinating Baobab seedlings could use the manure buried by dung beetles to boost the growth of its first few shoots!

Famous Baobabs: A Champion of Trees – The Sagole Baobab

Champion trees are nationally listed individual trees which are exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance. One of the South African champion trees is the Sagole Baobab Tree, located in Vendaland, Limpopo Province, with a trunk diameter of 10.47 metres. It may not be the stoutest of baobab trees (The Sunland and Glencoe Baobabs have larger girths) but the Sagole tree has the largest size of all with a height of 22 metres and a crown diamter of 38.2 metres.  

The tree has been carbon dated as being 1200 years old! 

The Sagole tree is also noted for being home to a rare colony of Mottled Spinetails. Here are two of my own pictures of the Sagole Tree – showing it with and without leaves.  How magnificant it is!