Weeding Your Own Garden – A Journey with Oaklands Farm

Over the years, here at Oaklands Farm, we have been actively working toward creating a…

Over the years, here at Oaklands Farm, we have been actively working toward creating a
healthier, more nourished, and abundant environment for ourselves, our guests, our
community, our animals, and, most importantly, the little piece of heaven we’ve been given
stewardship of.

I can now stand back and appreciate the depth and breadth of learning and awakening that
this undertaking has nurtured in everyone who has participated in the process. There is no
right action taken in life that does not return grace and reward for the soul. Although the
expression of this varies for individuals, there is no mistaking the wealth of knowledge,
understanding, and personal growth that one gains when prioritizing nature, your immediate
environment, and the ecosystem in which you personally participate. Let’s talk about “weeding
your own garden” and discover how it’s easy for our species to pass judgment on what is not
right, but not as easy to pick up the spade and do the work needed within your own space to
create the change that is so desperately needed. It has certainly given us a profound sense of
purpose, and while the mission is never truly accomplished, each milestone reached is

This picturesque piece of land, with its constantly improving soils and biome, isn’t just the
source of our livelihood; it’s the epicenter of a mission to nurture “ALL” and create a wealth of
abundance, well-being, good health, and goodwill for all. It’s our small contribution toward
healing the planet, bit by bit and day by day. Much like realizing that you, as a consumer, have the power to enact change by voting with your wallet.

Today, I invite you to join us on a personal journey, a journey that centers around how we take
care of our soils and land and how this impacts the very core of what it is to be present and in
‘being.’ From the food we eat and the soil within which it’s grown, together, we’ll explore how
we, at Oaklands Farm, use the principles of regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and
sustainable living to create the heartbeat that allows for this transformative experience.

Section 1: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

From the moment you step onto Oaklands Farm, you’re greeted by the vibrancy of a well-loved
landscape. In summer, the vibrant greens remind one of the Scottish Highlands, and a
symphony of life hums about this valley, nestled in the lower escarpment of the Drakensberg.
This sensory feast and the general feeling of well-being are a testament to the vital connection
that has been nurtured by those who care for it, tend to the animals, toil the soils, or generally
oversee the place.


By 2014, after the untimely death of Jamie Bruce, the owner, husband to Caroline, and
patriarch of the estate in 2010, matters had finally settled into a semi-calm and sustainable

With myself and two sisters, Annie and Kathy, “fighting the good fight,” we toiled tirelessly to
stabilize the ailing hotel business, the property’s sole source of income. A faint light was
beginning to glimmer at the end of the tunnel. It was at least there, and we knew that by
keeping our shoulders to the grindstone, there was a good chance; we just might make it.

Finally able to look up and not operating solely in survival mode, with the option of fleeing
seeming less attractive, the stress bucket was finally contained, no longer spilling out all over
the place fuelled by large doses of fear and adrenal fatigue. Life had settled into a more
manageable rhythm, and now was the time to start creating and implementing the “vision.”

The vision: A long-held vision of “earth care, people care, and fair share,” yes, the principles of
permaculture. This was the catchphrase and buzzword of the time, led by indomitable Bill
Mollison. Nowadays, we have so many different terms – regenerative agriculture, natural
agriculture, biodynamic farming, no-till, low-till – well, quite frankly, they’re all good things!
Over the years, we’ve come to learn that, just like nature, one should not get fixated on one
way but be flexible, reading your environment and letting nature guide you as to what works
best for her whilst also helping you reach you deliverables. You soon find that you are, in fact,
doing a combination of all of these methods.

SETTING INTENTIONS -Looking back now, it all seems such a long time ago and the initial
steps taken were so tentative, little baby steps, but it goes back to INTENTION! The first step
is simply to set the intention and just step in, no matter how small the first steps are or how
many times you restart or realise ‘that way doesn’t work’ and change tac its all in the

The first step in most things in life is always the hardest ….I feel a song coming on.