Image from Mushrooms of Southern Africa



Abalimi Cook Off: Farmers and Chefs Cook Up a Wild Indigenous Storm
Global warming made KZN floods twice as likely – study
Habitat for Humanity invites sponsors to participate in #BuildForMadiba initiative
Plastic Free July

To diarise
Bewonder & Bewaar on kykNET
2022 MPA Photography Competition
Diet Change Not Climate Change Film Festival
New investment programme launches for innovative foodtech startups

Film Festivals and Competitions
Handle Climate Change Film Festival, China
Human Environment Care Film Festival (HECFF)
Fungi Film Fest, USA

Interesting reads
South Africa could produce a lot more renewable energy: here’s what it needs
First-Ever Successful Rooting Of South African Critically Endangered “Yellow Mutavhatsindi Tree”

We are loving …
Groot Constantia goes solar powered
Tour de Tuli takes a greener approach to cycling
Help a rescued turtle hatchling return to the ocean
Textile waste recycled into building blocks

Who are Mycelium?

by Kia Johnson, Mycelium Founder Member

When I look back at the memories of my childhood it feels as if so many of those moments happened just yesterday. Forever etched in my mind like a loop of life that gets replayed over and over. While weekdays were dedicated to school, sports and cultural activities, weekends were when I could relax and enjoy being a kid. I slept in late, watched my favourite cartoons, wrote a little poetry (there was this side wall of our house I enjoyed climbing and once on top would get the best view of Cape Town sunsets with Table Mountain as my backdrop while writing) and playing hopscotch in the road where I lived where my friends and I used bricks to mark the outline of the game.

And when I think of these memories I realise there are so many wonderful freedoms and beautiful moments we should carve into ourselves and revisit every so often. There is nothing wrong with getting right back into your childlike self and experiencing life as if you are living it for the first time and that is how I felt when I used to watch the environmental TV show 50|50. I remember how my eyes were glued to the TV in absolute fascination at the beauty of what this gorgeous planet has to offer.

I grew up in very academically-focused family and when I gave my Mum the news that I’m going to work in media as a presenter I remember her saying to me at the time ‘that is not a proper job.’ So when I got told I am going to be the new Anchor Presenter for Season 10 of 50|50, I nearly fell off my chair when she blurted out how proud and happy she was that I am a part of this well-established show as it’s one her favourites. I have to admit I had a little inner chuckle at the time but I kept modestly quiet in my response and thanked her for the kind and encouraging words.

After a mini break the show is back with Season 11 of which I am yet again the Anchor Presenter and it feels like an absolute dream come true. The show highlights the balance between humans and nature and achieves this through storytelling. The stories have a way of creeping so far into your heart you simply can’t let go.  Having spanned over 30 years in broadcast it’s one of the longest running shows of its kind.

The most exciting part for me is to be able to live this dream after having watched the show for so many years, wondering what the experience would be like in front of the camera to showcase something so close to my heart and be able to educate the audience, creating an awareness of the wonders of our earth and how we as a species need to protect and nurture this at the core of everything we do.

Scientist, ecologist, environmentalist and philosopher Aldo Leopold said: “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” And it’s that harmony that we all need to strive for. I believe that no matter the darkness there is always light.

Make sure to tune in and join me for 50|50 every Monday night at 7pm on SABC 2.

Kia x


Abalimi Cook Off: Farmers and Chefs Cook Up a Wild Indigenous Storm

Abalimi Bezekhaya has been supporting micro-farmers in the townships for 40 years. As part of their anniversary celebration they hosted an event to connect farmers and the chefs around the kitchen table. Eight chefs teamed up with eight farmers from various community food gardens to cook up a plant based and wild food meal that catered for a total of 32 seated for a long harvest table meal. Mycelium was delighted to film their40th anniversary celebration held earlier this week.

The purpose of the cook-off was to link chefs with farmers to draw attention among chefs to township based micro-farmers cultivating organically produced conventional, local indigenous crops and wild edible weeds around Cape Town. It also showcased the creative ideas that chefs come up with using lesser known produce or “weeds” and the value these have.

Longer term goals include the growing of links between customers and Abalimi farmers via the Philippi Agrihub to regain pre-COVID levels of production and sales. Opportunity to connect with key stakeholders who can support Abalimi and partner with PEDI.

During its years as the distribution arm of Abalimi, Harvest of Hope managed to buy freshly grown and organically harvested produce from township farmers and sell this to upmarket families and restaurants in town. Between 2008 and 2019 they sold over R16 million worth of veggies, and over R10 million was paid directly to the farmers for the produce.

We all know what happened in 2020, but now with tourists arriving and business back on track, we need to ensure that the links to the community farmers are re-established. To this end, a closer link with the Philippi Agrihub has been evolving. There is a strong focus around the world on vegetarian and organic foods, while wild and indigenous plants are getting more attention. Now is the time to collaborate across the cultural and economic divide to ensure a stronger local food system, which is healthy, nutritional and does not cost the earth (literally).

The chefs were Mokgadi Itsweng from Johannesburg, Wesli Jacobs and Brinelle Chunningham representing the Table Bay and Mount Nelson Belmond Hotels, Nabo and Lipato from Ukutya at Makers Landing. We were also very pleased to have Zuko Mdatyulwa, Palesa Klaasen, Theba Shumba and Bhuti Luyanda representing the communities of Khayelitsha, Delft, Gugulethu and Nyanga.

The farmers were from community gardens in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu and surrounds. Siyazama Community Allotment Garden Association (SCAGA or also known as the powerline project) was established by Abalimi in 1996 as the first large urban micro-farm in the country, while Moya weKhaya (meaning “spirit of home”) was established in 2014. Feed the Khaltsha was started during COVID by a group of young men. Masiphile is a group of different farmers working together: Asande and Manelisi are in Gugulethu, while Zingisa is a community garden in Nyanga and Sunshine Organic Farm is in Driftsands.

The indigenous ingredients made available to the cooking teams were grown by the farmers. Along with Pedi Farm and the Sustainability Institute, they have been the early adopters who are innovating cultivation of Western Cape winter rainfall wild plant foods that were traditionally only ever wild harvested.

The conventional ingredients were all sourced from community food gardens in the townships. These vegetables are all grown without any poisons or chemical fertilizers, as Abalimi only supports organic farming principles. Moya weKhaya and Feed the Khaltsha have also been PGS* Certified, as naturally grown.

Global warming made KZN floods twice as likely – study

Global warming made the heavy rains behind South Africa’s devastating floods last month twice as likely as they would have been if greenhouse gas emissions had never heated the planet, scientists said.Flash floods around the east coast city of Durban killed 435 people, left tens of thousands homeless and caused R10bn worth of damage to roads, power lines, water pipes and one of Africa’s busiest ports.

The World Weather Attribution group analysed weather data and digital simulations to compare today’s climate to that of before the industrial revolution in the late 1800s, when the world was about 1.2°C cooler. “The results showed that an extreme rainfall episode such as this one can now be expected to happen about once every 20 years,” a report on the study said. “Without human-caused global warming, such an event would only happen once every 40 years, so it has become about twice as common as a result of greenhouse gas emissions.”

It added that when extreme downpours do happen, they can be expected to be 4-8% heavier than if no human-induced global warming had occurred. Attributing specific weather events to climate change is a tricky business that deals in probabilities, never certainty. But co-author Friederike Otto, from Imperial College London, said the study had examined data from the wider region, not just Durban.

“Looking at the larger region is actually a very meaningful way of assessing the impact of climate change. (The study) means that, in any given year, there is a 5% likelihood of such an event occurring,” she told a news conference, versus 2.5% in the absence of global warming.

Africa’s southeastern coast is on the front line of seaborne weather systems that climate change is making nastier, scientists say. South Africa’s tropical northern neighbour Mozambique has suffered multiple cyclones and floods in the past decade, including one in April that killed more than 50 people.

“The patterns we see in southern Africa are consistent with what we are seeing elsewhere in the world,” Jasper Knight, a geoscientist at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand, not involved in the study, told Reuters. “It confirms that climate change is real, it is happening right now and it’s impacting the most vulnerable.”

Habitat for Humanity invites sponsors to participate in #BuildForMadiba initiative

Global NPO Habitat for Humanity is inviting sponsors and volunteers to participate in its 2022 #BuildForMadiba Season. Hosted in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the event is held annually during Mandela Month from 18 to 22 July. Supported by the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, volunteers will work alongside communities to build sustainable housing as part of a worldwide effort to eliminate shelter poverty.

“Special focus will be given to rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed during the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal in April,” says Cyrus Watuku, interim executive director for Habitat for Humanity in South Africa. “In the short term, we are aiming to restore the most critical basic necessities and the dignity of those affected, while in the longer term we will be working on fully restoring or replacing the damaged houses.

“Adequate and affordable housing is an important component of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and an essential driver for achieving many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Housing is a basic human need and having a safe, decent and sustainable house is the first step on the ladder out of poverty for low-income families.”

Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate directly in the transformative experience of creating safe spaces for people to live and thrive in. This hands-on involvement is often described as life-changing for both beneficiaries and participants.

Up to 10 volunteers are allocated to each site per day and up to 50 people from a sponsor company can volunteer for the programme. The foundations are laid prior to the start of the season and, over the five-day participation period, volunteers work with qualified construction personnel to put basic structures into place, building the external and interior walls up to the roof plate. Construction of each house takes four to six weeks from site clearing to occupation, and each family receives a 40m2 house with two bedrooms and a lounge, kitchen and bathroom.

Corporate sponsorships are intended to cover the full cost of construction, including the #BuildForMadiba experience for up to 50 employees per site; skills development and employment for local community members (crew leaders and logistics personnel are recruited from the community to assist with various tasks throughout the week); PPE and safety equipment; tools and materials; catering for volunteers, homeowners and builders; event equipment hire; and Habitat for Humanity South Africa project management services.

For more information, click here.

Plastic Free July

The international Plastic Free July movement has begun with many local organisations looking to increase awareness around plastic pollution and ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.

Plastic Free July founder Rebecca Prince-Ruiz said making a difference was as simple as swopping out the usual disposable coffee cup with an eco-friendly version, bringing reuseable bags to get groceries, or switching to soap instead of using bottled wash products.

Supporting the movement, The Beach Co-Operations manager Megan-Rose added that they were launching their Plastic Free Mzansi Campaign this month, together with partners to educate the public on the effect of plastic pollution on oceans, the environment, communities and health, with numerous beach clean-ups.

To Diarise: Bewonder & Bewaar on kykNET

The award-winning director Susan Scott is at the head of Bewonder & Bewaar met Bonné de Bod with her outstanding imagery and text. Bonné and Susan have filmed all over the world – in Africa, Asia, Europe, the North Pole, as well as North and South America. For this series, the team, known for their ability to access difficult and isolated terrains in the wild, captured various wildlife researchers on camera in well-known wildlife areas in South Africa, Namibia, and Argentina.

Bonné and Susan are well-known for the documentary films, STROOP – journey into the rhino horn war and Kingdoms of Fire, Ice and Fairytales. Both films have been showcased at more than 50 film festivals and have received a multitude of nominations and awards, both locally and internationally. They have combinedly received more than 55 nominations and awards for their work at various entities.

Bonné is particularly known for her ability to put conservation scientists, wildlife vets, and researchers at ease in front of the cameras. Throughout this new series, she brings forth the passion that these people have for their research subjects. Wild dogs, penguins, and fynbos are just some themes you can expect to see on Bewonder & Bewaar met Bonné de Bod.

Tune in to kykNET (DStv channel 144) from Sunday 17 July 20:00 for Bewonder & Bewaar met Bonné de Bod. The series will also be available on DStv Catch Up.

To Diarise: 2022 MPA Photography Competition

The second ever Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Day is set to go global with its 2022 commemoration on Monday, August 1. And to celebrate this important event, organisers have announced some creative competitions that will be taking place in the lead up to the MPA Day.

Professional and amateur photographers are invited to enter the 2022 MPA Photo Competition to highlight the 41 South African Marine Protected Areas. The aim of the competition is to showcase the beauty and allure of MPAs as places for people to discover, relax, earn a living and respect.

The photographs entered may depict anything above or below the water within a South African MPA. This could include ocean creatures and plants, captivating scenery, sports or recreational events, as well as tourism and research conducted within these safe spaces. There are a number of great prizes, ranging from merchandise to nature-based experiences, worth thousands of rands.

How to enter?

  1. Indicate whether you’re a professional or novice photographer.
  2. Photo size is limited to 3MB and 1920 x 1080 pixels.
  3. Entries are limited to five photos per photographer.
  4. All images must be named with the photo entry number, your name, and the MPA name (eg: 1johndoeDeHoopMPA).
  5. If you would like to be tagged on Instagram, include your Instagram handle.
  6. Send entries or get more information at

MPA Day Youth Competition

This creative competition aims to create more awareness of South Africa’s 41 MPAs among the country’s youth. It’s open to anyone aged 11 to 18 years and is divided into art, creative writing and the photo/ video categories. There’s a junior division (ages 11 to 14) and a senior division (ages 15 to 18).

How to enter?

  1. You may submit one piece per category: art, creative writing or photo/ video- so a maximum of three entries per person.
  2. Include the category, your age and your name.
  3. All entries must include contact information for a guardian, parent or teacher.
  4. Send entries or get more information at or via the website

For more information about MPAs, visit

To Diarise: Diet Change Not Climate Change Film Festival

The Labia Theatre in partnership with food awareness organisation ProVeg South Africa will be hosting a two-week-long environmental film festival from Monday, July 25 to showcase feature films that highlight the link between our eating habits and climate change.

The festival’s headlining film, Eating Our Way To Extinction, narrated by Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, masterfully brings across this simple message: our food choices are pushing our world towards total ecological collapse. Eating Our Way To Extinction will be premiered twice on Monday 25 July 2022 at the Labia Theatre in Gardens, Cape Town, one of the oldest independent movie theatres in the country. Tickets to the premiere are on sale and will include a harvest table of delicious plant-based food along with goodie bags. All afternoon screenings that are a part of the festival will also include snacks in the ticket price.

Other films in the line-up include:

  1. I Am Greta
  2. Milked: White Lies in Dairy Land
  3. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
  4. O.P.E. What You Eat Matters
  5. Food Choices

Tickets are available on Quicket and will be sold at the door of the Labia Theatre.

New investment programme launches for innovative foodtech startups

The SA Innovation Summit has announced that it has launched The Foodtech Programme in partnership with Anza Capital. The programme is offering promising South African food tech innovators and fast-growing businesses an investment partnership, mentorship, and investment readiness support.

Selected startups will stand the chance to access R7m investment, participate in the upcoming SA Innovation Summit in Cape Town – taking place from 27-29 September 2022 – and pitch in the WIE Innovation Awards 2023 in Davos, Switzerland. This programme will provide a platform for Seed to Series A startups transforming the landscape in the food value chain in South Africa to gain exposure, scale and become sustainable businesses while ensuring a sustainable food supply to our communities.
To enter The Foodtech Programme click here or contact az.oc.timmusnoitavonni@snoititepmoc for more information.  

Film Festivals and Competitions

Handle Climate Change Film Festival, China

Handle Climate Change Film Festival (HCCFF) 2020 is now calling for entries from all over the world. HCCFF is a leading film festival in China focusing on climate change. Taking place on Octorber, in Shenzhen, China, HCCFF is hosted by Chinese official and academic institutes. We sincerely invite anyone interested in the film festival to submit proposals or films online or by post. Deadline: August 1, 2022

Human Environment Care Film Festival (HECFF)

The Human Environment Care Film Festival (HECFF) is Canada’s premier cultural event devoted exclusively to the exploration of Human-Environment care, Human rights issues, Environment protection through films. Our competitive sections are: Human-Environment, Environment issues (care), Humanity and human rights and a Special section: War and Displacement. Late Deadline: August 10, 2022

Fungi Film Fest, USA

The Fungi Film Fest (FFF) is the world’s only short film festival dedicated to the beauty, weirdness, and human influences of mushrooms, lichens, and micro fungi. Filmmakers of all backgrounds and genre types are welcome to submit to the festival, with the only requirement being that their film feature fungi in some way. Submission Deadline: August 15, 2022

Interesting reads

South Africa could produce a lot more renewable energy: here’s what it needs

South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, has not been able to provide a steady electricity supply for several years now. At the start of the 2022 winter the utility warned the public to expect up to 100 days with rolling power outages. At the end of June there was at times a 6,000MW shortfall in electricity supply, which corresponds to about 20% of the evening peak demand.While there is consensus that new electricity generating plants are urgently needed to minimise power outages, there are radically differing views on how this is best achieved. The official electricity plan approved three years ago is already out of date. Its implementation is furthermore two years behind schedule.

One widely promoted view is that increasing electricity generating capacity requires grand-scale new renewable energy developments. In 2020 the electricity generated from renewables amounted to a mere 10.5% of the South African national total. This will have grown to about 11.5% as more plants have been completed. The Conversation

First-Ever Successful Rooting Of South African Critically Endangered “Yellow Mutavhatsindi Tree”

These saplings of the Critically Endangered Mutavhatsindi tree will be used to establish ex situ collections and more propagation research trials at Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, as well as Limpopo’s Thohoyandou National Botanical Garden.  
Good Things Guy

We are loving …

… these initiatives which support our aim of living in a more sustainable world.

Groot Constantia goes solar powered

Among South Africa’s many renowned wine estates, Groot Constantia is notably distinguished as South Africa’s oldest and first-established wine estate, for its quality-crafted wines and for its environmental leadership as a World Wildlife Fund Conservation Champion. With a 336-year heritage, this 160-hectare estate is situated on the Cape Peninsula overlooking False Bay. It is a popular attraction for tourists from across the globe. While it preserves its history, it wants to embrace modernity so its gates remain open for more centuries to come. This desire for longevity prompted its solar power journey with Sun Exchange and the crowdsale is currently open.

Tour de Tuli takes a greener approach to cycling

Wilderness Safaris and the Nedbank Tour de Tuli have moved to a greener option to secure riders’ race numbers to their bikes, eliminating the use of traditional plastic zip ties on their handlebars.These brackets will be set up on all 410 riders’ bikes taking part in this iconic mountain bike event – which kicks off on 19 July.

“Conservation and environmentalism are central to the goals and ethos of the Nedbank Tour de Tuli, which is the main fundraiser for our non-profit, Children in the Wilderness (CITW). We are proud to introduce these new Moundt brackets in order to remain accountable for our carbon footprint, and to continually look at ways to further positively contribute to the protection of our planet,” said Nedbank Tour de Tuli Tour director, Bronwen Blunden.

For years, standard practice for riders has been to secure their race numbers to the handlebars of their bikes with the aid of cable or zip ties. Using up to three zip ties per rider, these non-degradable plastic fasteners are inevitably discarded after an event, with their increasing accumulation in the environment becoming a threat to the planet.

To address this problem, Wilderness Safaris and the Nedbank Tour de Tuli partnered with Moundt, a South African company that produces carefully engineered re-usable metal brackets that allow riders to continue using them at other biking events. The Moundt bracket is a solution with a novel design that positions the race number board away from the handlebars and fastens it through a clip-and-slot mechanism. This will hopefully eliminate the use of almost 2,000 cable ties for this event and ensure that cable ties shouldn’t ever be needed again for any of their future events.

Help a rescued turtle hatchling return to the ocean

No more than two in a thousand loggerhead turtles survive into adulthood, which is why rehabilitating every single one of the stranded turtles that is rescued by members of the public and brought to us for care is so critical. In the hands of the
Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation‘s turtle rehab team, dozens of stranded hatchlings that would have perished, often due to human-caused hazards and threats, are able to have a second chance at life in the ocean.

On average, it costs the team about R6 000 to rehabilitate a single stranded hatchling – no small effort! You can help these efforts directly by adopting one of this year’s hatchlings – get exclusive naming rights, a certificate confirming your adoption, and personalised monthly updates about your chosen hatchling from now, until the day of its release back into the wild.View the hatchlings who need support here.

Textile waste recycled into building blocks

Consumers are taking an interest in the clothing cycle, they are asking brands who made their clothes, what fabrics are being used and what conditions garment workers work in. Much like their interest in the production cycle, they want to know what is being done with textile waste or soiled clothes to prevent them from ending up in a landfill. These are also the questions that are important to South Africa’s leading value retailer, Ackermans.

In June, Ackermans announced it has formalised a partnership with Wastecrete, an affiliation of the World of Decorative Concrete (WoDC) and a business specialising in using waste in different concrete applications which was founded by Johan Coetzee and Schalk La Grange in 2021, to convert fabric waste from the production process and used and damaged garments that are not fit for wear into a first: fabric bricks called F∆BRIC.

Wastecrete is recycling textile waste into carbon-neutral building blocks suitable for building construction thanks to its innovative production process. The fabric waste is supplied to Wastecrete where it is then converted from waste into fabric strips and offcuts. The team can recycle buttons, zips and other trimmings to ensure everything is used. During the production process, the fabric strips and offcuts are mixed with concrete to create a fire retardant and water-resistant brick giving the fabric a whole new lifecycle for the next 100 years. To see the production process and for more information on Wastecrete, visit World of Decorative Concrete’s site.