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How green is our valley!

The elegant country community of Crossways Farm Village in the Eastern Cape is a vision for conscious living

A Life sized black and white cow comprising a million beads and 11km wire welcomes curious visitors to Crossways arm Village, just off the N2, before Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

The Holsteins are an integral part of the village, ambling along designated pathways between grazing,fertilising and milking duties at the working dairy. This is the passionate project of Crossways developers, including Chris Mulder and associates. The Key ethos behind Crossways is rural development and community involvement within a secure country setting. It focuses on food security, energy efficiency, livelihood sustainability, and a low carbon footprint. Its a third conservation, a third agriculture and a third development, claims Chris.

While remaining tethered to the area’s electricity grid, Crossways has built its roads and infrastructure independently, and provides municipal services,including a water treatment plant and reservoir, and an electrical substation.

Removing foreign vegetation and re-establishing the natural Albany coastal belt thicket and Kouga fynbos is a significant part of the development’s sustainability efforts. Alien timber makes up everything from lampposts to carport shade covers, created by local craftsmen in a small onsite business. Rainwater is harvested from angled roofs and street kerbs, and water from the village’s sewage treatment plant feeds into a man made wetland and bird reserve, running into a dam for the subsequent irrigation of public parks. At the heart of Crossways in a town square with shops, facilities and services planned along the main street, and a regular market that will offer fresh, organic produce.

Different styles of homes cater for all pockets, from first time homeowners to the more affluent. Abode choices include compact village and castle houses, and modern, sheltered farmstead building.

The smallest stands show remarkable use of space and include a garage, a courtyard, a rainwater tank and room for budget dependent expansion. All villagers have solar geysers with the option to incorporate more energy efficient measures. A mandatory refuse system supplies four bins for compulsory recycling of glass, plastic, paper and organic material, all of which will be processes at the onsite waste recovery centre.

Though the village will likely take another eight years to complete, it has already garnered considerable international and local interest and, with its comprehensive schooling plan (Woodridge College is nearby) and advanced security measures, this multifaceted investment is sustainability presents a prototype for new ‘Ruralism’ in South Africa

Article by House and Leisure October 2013 addition