Hearts Center Radio Interviews

Angus McIntosh Biodynamic Farming in South Africa

Angus McIntosh Biodynamic Farming in South Africa

A powerful messenger for permaculture, Angus’ innovations come from his overriding principle that as custodian of the land his job is to ensure that at all times fertility is improving on the farm. He grew up on a cattle ranch in Kwa-Zulu Natal onthe west coast of South Africa. Angus McIntosh studied Management Accounting at Stellenbosch University before stockbroking for Goldman Sachs in London for just over four years.  Then he declined the offer of promotion, left his job and moved to South Africa. Angus built a clay home with inspiration from various people along the way, leading him to become a biodynamic student, grass farmer and carbon sequestrator.


After reading Michael Pollans’ “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” he decided to become a farmer. Inspired by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia, USA, on his farm outside Stellenbosch, South Africa, he applied BioDynamic agricultural principles and practices in raising cattle, laying hens, vegetables and vines. The 126 hectares of irrigated pasture form the foundation on which his operation rests. He plants a diversity of perennial summer and winter legumes, herbs and grasses each of which brings different nutrition to the animals eating them as well as beneficial relationships with the soil microbes.


Angus’ pasture management is based on the high density grazing methodology, espoused by Andre Voison, Allan Savory and Ian Mitchell-Innes. This simple principle of having a lot of animals in a small space for a short period of time deposits enormous amounts of manure and urine on the land and leads to healthy, vigorous growth achieved without applying any artificial fertilizer (NPK) to the land. He moves his cattle twice daily and the laying hens, accommodated in “Eggmobiles”, move every day.


The Angus Farm vineyards are in their final year of conversion to organic status. To be followed by conversion to biodynamic status with the ultimate goal being the production of biodynamic Spier Estate wines. Angus plans to have Demeter certified grapes in early 2015.


His client base in almost entirely local restaurants. And his produce is also available in a growing handful of retailers. Angus offers real food safaris (farm tours) by arrangement and would be very happy to show you around.


Only the media, tertiary education agricultural institutions and those working for the agricultural chemical companies believe we need to keep increasing production to avoid world hunger. Today we are producing enough food to feed between 11 and 14 billion people yet at the same time we are losing 20x more kgs of topsoil in erosion than kgs of food produced. Equal amounts of people are dying of obesity and starvation. The wrong food (read GMO corn and soya) is being produced by the wrong people in the wrong places using the wrong methodology.


Organic and BioDynamic foods don’t have the problems of poor nutritional value and mineral content; and they are produced in a manner that does not poison the earth and in some cases actually heals the earth by reversing global warming. 


The great thing about this dire scenario (a sick planet inhabited by sick people) is that you can participate in healing the earth and its people three times a day. Every time you eat, you choose your farmer and he/she is either practicing regenerative or destructive agriculture. Choose wisely.


Angus McIntosh




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