Finding Agriculture in Africa & Discovering to Say More with Less

I was recently given the great opportunity to visit South Africa. It was a beautiful chance to discover more about myself through adventure and meditation. I have noticed, in the past year or so, that I am incredibly wordy. Some of the people I find most power, however, (an ex-bf’s mom, our guide in Kruger National Park), are people of incredibly few words.

So, in my effort to move towards saying more with less, I bring you my post in mostly pictures. How I found the transparency of Agriculture in other societies.

A small stone carving, representing "Waiting for the Rain"

This small figure (atop my journal of my adventure) was hand-carved by a local shopkeeper. Even now, living in the populated city of Johannesburg, this man was atuned to the importance of Agriculture and the world around him. American farmers’ livelihood often relies on the outcome of “waiting for the rain”

Wine Country, Western Cape, South Africa

Enjoying the “fruits of thine farming labor” through wine! A lot of hard agricultural work and crop science goes into producing those wonderful flavors.

My beaded Hampshire

My hand-beaded Hampshire sheep. I was really suprised to see one that resembled a breed we have in America (most beaded animals were lions, zebras, antelope…) It takes 3 full days to make this guy. I don’t think I’ve seen an American souvenir that was made in America in a long time. Even if there are made in the USA, I bet you they’re mass produced…

Cattle in Mpumalanga, South Africa

I found cattle! Oddly, I have better pictures of lions. The guides don’t slow down so you can photograph cattle the way they do about lions, but I found both fascinating. Cattle look drastically different, whether your comparing US to Thailand, US to South Africa, or Thailand to South Africa. Through the thin body condition, it is obvious that there is not a large disposable income to feed cattle to their capacity. Even though they are one food source, humans must be feed before cattle. Veterinary care is usually minimal, and starvation a possibility. Also, the large ears and loose skin around the brisket are bred characteristics to help cattle rid their bodies of extra heat in a warm climate.

Different Grazing Styles...

Property laws seem a little different in South Africa. Even on your way to the airport in Johannesburg, you can find small fields covered in free-grazing cattle. No fences, no ear-tags, no brands. I can only assume the use of the occasional cow bell helps keep track of who owns which animals. I was warned against hitting black cattle at night, as they sometimes wander across the highways in search of greener grass. As you can see in the picture, they tend to grass right on the highway curbs.

Story Time with our Guide

Our guide, Israel, explaining the balance of human life and nature. He spent 7 years in the African bush of Kruger Park as a ranger, there to protect the animals and the people. His stories included those of elephant attacks, watching a lion kill a human, and mutual respect of nature for what it is, and not what humans want to make it.

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About Farm the Start

I grew up in cities from North Carolina all the way to Asia, but never really interacted with farm animals or farmers until I began college at Virginia Tech as an Animal & Poultry Sciences Major. I thought I would become a vet for puppies and kitties. Little did I know what I would learn and the love I'd find for the lifestyle, practices, people and animals involved in food production.

Posted on October 26, 2011, in Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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