Lisbon Farm, South Africa (Citrus co-op learnt to ‘cascade’ outputs, create multiple revenue streams and get more from ecosystems)
When South Africa’s largest citrus farm, Lisbon, found it couldn’t compete against the global citrus market because its prices were too high, the co-operative turned to Gunter Pauli and the Blue Economy for a solution, with notable results.
Lisbon Farm is located next to Africa’s oldest natural park, the Kruger Park, which is an international tourist destination with 600 lodges for sightseeing the continent’s five big animals.
Lisbon took new measures to deliver local juice fresh to all 600 lodges every day. No more importing juice from Europe. The farm then created a natural laundry detergent out of the prodigious amount of leftover orange peels — a solar-powered process enables the extraction of something called d-Lemonine from the peels, which is the detergent. In keeping with a signature characteristic of natural ecosystems, the farm then began to diversify its revenue streams, and started offering laundry services to the 600-plus lodges, using the local and natural detergent. Because the laundry water is polluted only with extract from local foods, it can be reused for irrigation back at the farm.
Keeping in mind the key question, what would nature do — the farm also began reusing its citrus tree pruning’s, which are rich in amino acids, to farm mushrooms. The mushrooms were sold to the lodges, which removed the cost and impact of otherwise having to fly mushrooms in from China. After harvesting the mushrooms, the pruning’s which are usually not edible, were enriched in amino-acids which made an excellent food for chickens – this then saw the introduction of a chicken and egg farm.
Building on the increasingly integrated relationship with the lodges, arrangements were then made to collect their food waste as feed for a new series of pig farms. The Kruger Park region is savannah-like where chicken and pig farms are typically expensive to run, but with waste now being a food source it made it cost-effective. The waste from the pigs was used as a bio gas and help to regenerate the soil.
This program saw nine new revenue streams generated for the farm and the world market price for citrus has become a moot point. Employment is up by 50 percent.