After a long series of roads winding through the mountains, we arrive deep in the valley of Wupperthal and meet with a cooperative of farmers who cultivate rooibos.
Wupperthal Original Rooibos Co-Op is a cooperative that produces, for example, for the French brand Jardins de Gaia. A community gathered together for a farming project, but above all for values.
All the farmers work together, whether for harvesting or for the process of fermentation and drying.
Maurice speaks with Barend Salomo, one of the people in charge, who talks about the constant search for quality and the desire to produce something that is compatible with nature.
In his view, nothing can be expected from the Earth by giving it chemicals. In contrast, when we work together with it as partners, it can give so much.
Barend leads us up to the mountains, to around 2000 m altitude, where the cooperative’s farmers are together for the harvest.
In considerable heat – it is over 40° C – they cut the branches of this unique legume bush that grows on sandy soil. The decor is sumptuous. The field extends in the midst of a circular, rocky barrier. I feel like I’m transported back into a different time...
Barend explains to Maurice how the plants are cultivated, how they are subject to attacks from worms and mushrooms. His hands know the Earth and the plants he cultivates. He turns over the soil below the bushes, shows that the plant is alive, then takes care to put everything back in its place.
de Bernard pour la Terre et les Hommes, 1er mars 2011