This is the story of Pebblespring Permaculture Farm: an exercise in Regenerative Design.
The dam is really beautiful
The Cottage as it was when we found it
It is also the story of my wife and I, who live in sub-urban Port Elizabeth, on the South East coast of South Africa. We have three children. This is the story of our quest to live a life closer to the land. A quest that is odd, given the fact that we live and work in the city and did not own a farm when we started this quest. On these pages we set out our step by step progress toward our goal since the beginning of 2009, when we first bought four "Quacker" ducks to keep in our back yard. The journey led us to eventually buy Pebblespring Farm in 2014.
The farm is 10 hectares in extent and comprises a unique combination of grassland, forest, marsh and stream. There is a very old cottage on the farm.  At this stage we can’t rule out the possibility that this is the oldest remaining house in PE.) 
We learn from and build on the ideas of:
  • Alan Savory
  • Bill Mollison
  • Geoff Lawton
  • Joel Salatin
  • Sepp Holtzer
  • Mark Shepherd
  • Wendell Berry

.. And of course many  others who have touched our thinking in some way.

The name, "Pebblespring farm" is a nod to the Khoisan and the nearby lake they named  "Kragga Kamma". The surrounding area is named "Kragga Kamma" after this lake. 
The most reliable source we can find (Margret Harrodene) records the Khoisan translation for Kragga Kamma as being "pebbly waters". Our spring is at the source of a little river that feeds the "Pebbly Waters" so we called the spring "Pebble Spring" and the farm Pebblespring Farm. I love it! The name talks to the fact that this property would have been a centre of human habitation for a very long time before the Dutch arrived an called it Goedmoedsfontein, in itself a beautiful name.

We farm with Chickens, Beef, Pigs and Tilapia. We are beginners, but we are giving it a go.

The farm is home to the perennial spring which feeds a stream that runs into the Kragga-Kamma lake. The property was was under threat of subdivision from a developer who sought to profit from the transformation of this property into a residential “Life Style” development. With great difficulty we bought the property because we  see things differently and believe that the lessons we learn here will be of benefit to ourselves and to many others.

I keep a blog. Some of the stories you may find interesting. Here are a few of my favourites:

16 January 2014, Be careful what you dream for

24 September 2014, Freedom is our Heritage. It belongs to us.
18 October 2014, Making way for something better
9 November 2014, So, How have the cows been?

Pebblespring Farm,  is the remaining piece of land around the original farmhouse of the once expansive  “Goedmoedsfontien” (roughly translated from Dutch as" Spring of Wellness"). Located 20 km from the PE CBD on the KraggaKamma road, it includes a  cottage (derelict and abandoned when we bought the place) which was the original residence of the farm granted to Johannes Kok in 1816. 

The stream flows from the spring on the western boundary


  1. Hi there, I saw your post on permies.com and decided to look at your blog. I want to do exactly the same thing as you. Buy useless land and develop it into a permaculture paradise. I plan to do Geoff Lawton's PDC course next year to equip me properly, but also have been reading every book I can find. I now believe that only a permaculture future will save mankind from extinction. Good luck with your project! Cheers, Daniel. PE, Lorraine

  2. Hi, I've been in PE for a few days volunteering at a permicultre set up in Redhouse. However, I'm keen to find a new project. How does one get in touch with you?


  3. Hi, i've been in PE for a few days volunteering through www.workaway.info at a permaculture place. However, I'm keen to see what else is going on in the area and your project looks like a massive undertaking. The kind of project a lot of people would love to get involved in. How does one get in touch with you other than through permies.com?

    1. Richard,

      My email address is tim@noharchitects.co.za