Review: Farm Animal Sanctuary SA Opening Day

Posted on 12 October 2016

A review of the Farm Animal Sanctuary SA, Franschoek…

On Sunday, the 2nd of October, Farm Sanctuary SA opened its (barn) doors in Franschhoek, in the Western Cape. The timing could not have been better as it coincided with World Farm Animal Day and this made the event even more profound. Farm Sanctuary SA is the first registered farm animal sanctuary in Africa.

Farm Animal Sanctuary SAThe grand opening was well attended by various roleplayers in the vegan and animal rights movement. Joanne Lefson, founder director of Farm Sanctuary SA, expressed her passion and love for animals in a heartfelt speech where she introduced the rescued animals and their stories. Having realised her goal with the unwavering support of her partner Harald, it was indeed a special moment she had been dreaming about for 22 years, and the emotion she felt was palpable for all who attended that day. When the time came to cut the ribbon and declare the sanctuary officially open to the public, Baloo the calf was standing right at Jo’s side, giving his seal (or should I say moo?) of approval.

The magic of Farm Animal Sanctuary SA resonates in the details of its spaces and design. Light streams in through the glass panels of the arches and openings in the barn. A spiralling metal staircase winds its way up to a sunny loft. Barrels of hay serve as nifty tables and chairs. Pictures and quotes from famous and inspirational people adorn the walls of the barn. You’ll find specially crafted door handles and mirrors in the rustic restrooms. Visitors can help themselves to a myriad of information at the creatively displayed information stand.

It is a 100% green facility, making use of solar energy and a biodigester. Untamed green grass gushes from the roof at the sides of the barn. The playfully designed henhouse is home to rescued, ‘spent’ hens who now spend their days bathing in the dust and sun as nature intended them to. Impactful sculptures with stirring and eloquent messages are scattered across the landscape of the farm.

The barn is also home to Garden of Vegan, a farmstall serving wholesome Vurgers and s’moo’thies, and selling a variety of other vegan goods such as fresh, organic produce grown at the farm, juices, coffee with almond milk, muffins, cookies, veggie chips and vegan biltong, butter and yoghurt. Visitors can also purchase decorative bowls, t-shirts, bags, bath salts, soaps and paper products made from the cow dung (which provides a source of income to the rural community), as well as free range eggs from the rescued hens.

The Farm Animal Sanctuary's Garden of VeganThe animal pens are situated at the sides of the barn, allowing visitors to experience the animals at close proximity. The purpose of the sanctuary is to create awareness and awaken a connection between consumers and farm animals, and to encourage a more compassionate lifestyle. The animals at the sanctuary each play an important role, becoming ambassadors for change.

One of these ambassadors is Pigcasso, the famous pig, who was rescued from a pig farm and brought to the sanctuary, where she is allowed to live out her natural days. Of course she is thriving and as it turns out, she has a very special talent too. She can paint! And best of all, you can purchase her famous pieces of artwork at the farmstall.

Farm Sanctuary SA is open to visitors on weekends and public holidays, or by appointment on weekdays. Guests can also book an overnight stay in the loft above the barn. Volunteering at the sanctuary is encouraged and donations are welcome and will be used for the upkeep of the farm and nurture of the rescued animals. For more info visit www.farmsanctuarysa.orgOpens in a new window.

I encourage everyone to visit and support Farm Sanctuary SA. There is such a special, positive energy here which I am unable to capture with just words and pictures alone. “Our lives is our message”. These words at the entrance to the barn reverberate long after you leave the gates of this sanctuary.

Matlombe Lounge, Dirkie Uys Street, Franschoek, Western Cape. Tel.: 021 876 2718. Open Sat-Sun 11 am – 3 pm.

Reviewed by Samantha Jooste – Vegan SA


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