Midlands Food Hero – Carol Segal
When Carol was still embroiled in the corporate Jozi world, her business was called Organic Optimism. Undoubtedly, she was already plotting her escape.
On a smallholding in Boston, Carol Segal withher husband Tyron and their team, have crafted magnificent food gardens – a temple of good food. As it is tucked right up against a forest patch, there are plenty of monkeys about. While Carol doesn’t mind sharing, she has devised ways to ensure that her family get their fair share of the harvest. “I have learnt that the monkeys don’t eat celery, pepperdews, rocket, fennel, coriander and green pepper – so they are planted in the open.” Under shelter is an abundance of lettuce, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, basil, green beans and colourful companion plants in bloom, the cabbages are huge and the intofeshe (kale) plants are taller than people! There are rocks amongst the veggies, which Carol believes add an important element. They edge the beds, hold warmth from the sun, provide homes for skinks and insects, add minerals to the soil and of course, are the skeleton of the garden. Along with the monkeys, everyone in the family has a favourite vegetable. Carol’s lunch choice is red cabbage salad with grated apples and toasted sunflower seeds, her son Seth could eat broccoli every day, Fynre’s favourite is celery and Brooke adores crunchy cucumber.
Carol clearly loves producing organic food for her family and the Pickle Pot restaurant on their property. She also assists in establishing food gardens in deep rural areas. Volunteers are welcome to spend time working and learning in the food gardens, and the Khula Shanti Training Centre grows in popularity as more people want to learn about agro-ecological ways of farming.
Naturally, everything that is not eaten is recycled through big compost heaps and a worm farm to improve the soil. Carol had some Khula Shanti soil tested recently and the scientist was astonished at the readings for Nitrogen, Potassium and the balance of nutrients, telling her “It’s off the charts, you should be selling this at R200 a bag.”. The secret to growing with nature is in the soil – chemical fertilizer destroys the intricate web of life in soil.
“Humans have lost their connection to the soil, to the earth and to real food. We need to rekindle that by growing food.” says Carol earnestly. Khula Shanti is a great place to re-ignite your connections.