Situated in a world biodiversity hotspot in the Cape Floristic Region, the Langkloof is South Africa’s apple growing region, and is also home to several indigenous Honeybush species. Apple farming is particularly sensitive to climate change and wild Honeybush is currently under threat from unsustainable harvesting and plant poaching.
The Langkloof is risk prone, with regular droughts, floods and wildfires making life difficult for those who live in the area. This coupled with the loss of wetlands that act as a natural water buffer, and the invasion of alien tree species, has altered the catchment areas, affecting the water supply for everyone downstream. As a result Port Elizabeth, one of the largest cities in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, now faces severe water shortages regularly.
Grounded is working with Living Lands to implement a holistic Landscape Business Plan using Commonlands’ Four Returns model. Our key focus is to cultivate and sustainably harvest Honeybush in the area. Honeybush Tea is a healthy and tasty tea that has become increasingly popular across the globe during the last decade. This had led to overharvesting and put many Honeybush varieties under threat. Sustainable cultivation will take pressure off the wild stocks and support the natural rehabilitation of the area. The project aims to bring balance back to the Langkloof and increase the area’s natural biodiversity.
We received an investment from Stichting DOEN to develop a viable and sustainable Honeybush business and its supporting functions. The resulting Langkloof Honeybush Co. aims to work with local farmers and harvesters to produce high quality, sustainable honeybush from various different species. Cyclopia Intermedia (“Berg tee”) is most often found on the high south facing slopes of both the Tsitsikamma and Kouga mountains and is under severe pressure from drought, fire and over-harvesting. It is a sustainable wild-harvested premium tea with full-bodied flavour.
Cyclopia Subternata (“vlei tee”) grows in the mountain valleys and is a good species to cultivate. Cultivation of Honeybush takes the pressure of the wild-harvested varietals. Subternata is a high quality tea with a distinctly different colour and taste profile to Intermedia.
We have made great strides so far and are now focusing on market development, to ensure that our Langkloof teas will be sold into appropriate local and international commercial channels.