Paul Duncan the original Food Hero

Paul Duncan believes that everyone has a right to good food, grown without harm. Since 2000 he has worked really hard to ensure that the Howick community, at least, has access to healthy food.

Paul grew up in Karkloof and spent his childhood exploring the hills, streams and forests, developing a deep respect for natural systems. So it was no surprise that, when he took over Dovehouse farm from his dad, Arthur, he chose to follow the permaculture route, which works with nature, rather than against it. “My wife, Shereen, and I dreamt of developing a small scale organic farm that would provide a healthy lifestyle for our family as well as those around us.”

Over the years, Dovehouse has become a centre of inspiration. It is not always easy to get people to change their lifestyles to more planet friendly ones, but Paul believes that education is important and he generously shares his extensive knowledge through regular workshops and consultations. Many will have heard of ‘mulch, worm tea and effective micro-organisms’ for the very first time at Dovehouse and there can be little doubt that Paul has influenced hundreds of people to start growing their own food, or at the very least, choose organic produce. His hands-on composting workshops are terrific fun and have ensured that far less green waste goes into landfills as people are now building their own heaps and in the process replenishing our precious soils. “This is my greatest joy, I love nothing more than scooping up rich, dark earth in my hands. It smells so good and I know will produce great veggies too.” he says passionately. “I recently read statistics that show that half of the Earth’s top soil has been lost through the effects of humans. Of the 50% left, 40% is now classed as degraded soil. It is really important to support farmers who focus on building healthy soils and environments”.

Paul and Shereen realise that convenience often outweighs environmental and health concerns for consumers, so they have opened a new shop in Howick that ensures good food is easily accessible to everyone. The range of in season, locally grown organic produce available is mouth-watering. At the moment the winter crops of cauliflower, broccoli, kale and carrots are at their best. If you are luckily enough to live in the Midlands, there is no reason not to ensure that Paul’s dream of a healthy, flourishing, sustainable community becomes a reality.

Find Dovehouse at 78 Main Street, next to the PinCushion.

Food Hero Paul Duncan Dovehouse ed143 aug14

Paul Duncan. Photo: Nikki Brighton