Spier Farm Mob Grazing – some insights into their people

Spier Farm Mob Grazing

Zennor Pascoe, April 2020 (Zennor is an independent researcher and regenerative farming expert visited the Spier project to find out what difference their carbon trading initiative makes to people on the ground.)

Regenerative agriculture, where 50% of the revenue from Carbon Credits goes directly to the staff

Tambo is 34 years old, he’s a single father to two young boys aged 4 and 8. He grew up in a farming family in Zimbabwe but left 10 years ago to find work in South Africa. This bought him to Spier Farm, where he’s been ever since, currently managing the water on the 74 hectares of grazing land under management.

Tambo is also a competitive runner, currently training with the aim to qualify to represent Zimbabwe in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 400 and 800 metre running events. In February 2020 he ran a 1.46 time in the Cape Town marathon and his 8 year old is beginning to love running too, so Tambo takes him out most mornings.

Every job has a story. Behind each wage is a family, passions and talents. Sometimes those talents take you from a farm in Zimbabwe to working in sustainable agriculture in South Africa and on to the Tokyo Olympics.

The difference at Spier’s Mob-Grazing project is that on top of a wage, 50% of the funds raised by the sale of Spier’s carbon credits go directly to Tambo and the rest of the staff team. Once the carbon revenue is realised, the nature of this benefit is decided by the employee group in consultation. This means not only has Spier’s project locked an audited 8,785 tonnes of CO2 into the earth of the farm, regenerating soils, boosting biodiversity and ensuring nutrient rich eggs, beef and pork, but that carbon revenue supports the lives and the dreams of farm workers.

Producing meat, egg and pork can mean working in some harrowing conditions. Chickens in cages, pigs in tiny feed lots and highly stressed cattle loaded en mass into trucks and taken off to abattoirs. Air quality in the crowded sheds is poor, respiratory issues within farm workers are common and dealing with animals in these conditions takes its toll mentally and emotionally. Another issue with these farming conditions is the increasing antibiotic resistance across all species, including us as humans, along with the transmission of dangerous viruses between species eg H1N1, SARS, MERS and Corona Viruses.

At Spier Farm, animal welfare is paramount. Pigs live outside, lying in their dust baths in the shade of trees, free to walk around and entertain themselves (pigs are very easily bored). Chickens peck around in the grass, moved from one spot to the next daily. Cattle have a buffet bar of mineral licks, salts and diatomaceous earth (a natural dewormer) in the fields. Healthier animal husbandry makes for happier and healthier workers.

By choosing to purchase Spier’s mob-grazing carbon credits, you join a movement. Not only do you offset some of your or your company’s unavoidable carbon emissions, you directly contribute and vote with your budget or wallet to actively regenerate farmland in South Africa, boost biodiversity, create a high welfare food source and help people like Tambo fulfil their dreams.