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Rainbow Commons Sustainability Commons
Rainbow Commons Sustainability Commons
Last updated:
D710, Dargle, ZA
Climate zone:
Warm Temperate

Abraham Coetzee Linnea Cooper
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Rainbow Commons Sustainability Commons

Project Type

Rural, Demonstration, Educational

Project Summary

The Commons is a living and learning centre for sustainability, permaculture, and environmental education. We are a registered non-profit with a mission to promote self-sufficiency, sustainability and environmental stewardship through education and projects here at the Commons and in Impendle.

Project Description

About the Rainbow Commons. We are a sustainability-conscious demonstration site practicing permaculture and experimenting in ecological and cooperative living. We are registered as a ‘Not for Profit Organisation’ located on 300 hectares of land that includes a mountain, streams, waterfalls, and forests.

The Homestead has a food garden with a small expanding orchard. A variety of foods are grown but no cash crops—we are not a commercial farm. We are aspiring to be self-sufficient and are almost there! We’re off the grid so power comes from the sun (solar panels and batteries) and an occasional generator. Meals are cooked with solar cooker, or gas on cloudy days. There is an abundance of fresh spring water.

We are 45km from Howick—the closest town. We are 65km from Pietermaritzburg, the closest city. We are also near Impendle, a rural Zulu traditional community, about 15km away.

Weather: Spring is chilly and misty. Summer is rainy many afternoons and hot during the day. Autumn is warm during the day, cool at night and dry. Winter is warm during the day and cold at night (going down to 3 degrees Celsius) and it very rarely rains.

We are offering a practical learning programme in specific skills & knowledge in permaculture and homesteading systems but are no longer offering a volunteer help-exchange programme.  It is a good place to start before doing a PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) or to get more practical experience after doing a PDC.  You can custom your learning programme by choosing what you want to learn and do each day: Basic permaculture design, compost making, food production, seed saving, beekeeping, costing an off-grid homesteading, setting up a solar-power systems, natural building with cob, yurt making, Non Violent Communication skills, exploring Right Livelihood economics, nurseries and forest creation, bread making, preserving, vegetarian cooking, water harvesting, nutrition and natural health (medicinal plants), recycling crafts, making wonderbag, making a clay stove or oven, and more.   See the attached learning menu.


The daily cost is R200/day for foreigners and R150/day for South Africans.  The cost includes four hours of training (skills and knowledge sharing) per day, accommodation in a self-catering yurt (which might be shared with one other person), 3 vegetarian meals, hot showers, toilet, use of mountain bikes, and loan of our many sustainability and permaculture books & magazines.   If there is sufficient sun, you can charge your cell phone and laptop in the Rainbow house.

About the Family: Samantha and Shine share the Rainbow Homestead. They co-parent and un-school 2 children—Oriah age 9 and Kei 7. We have a cat, Shiva, and a dog, Ashanti.

We have a vision to live more sustainably on the earth and to make the world a better place through sharing and learning about this path with others. We enjoy spending time in nature, attending Rainbow gatherings, playing musical instruments and singing, hunting for mushrooms, going to the beach (when possible), doing crafts, storytelling, fire dancing, .

We think of ourselves as spirituals beings. Sam affiliates herself with the Unitarian Universalist faith. We share earth-centred rituals and celebrations together such as Solstices and those that mark the change of seasons. Spiritual growth and openness to others’ spiritual paths are important values.

There is very limited power as a small solar set-up provides all the power for AC and DC power. There will be specified times when the sun is shining to charge phones and use your own computer.

There are no shops near to us so please bring with you airtime, favourite foods, medication, etc that you might need.

About the Food: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be in the family home. Additional snack food is the financial responsibility of the volunteer. We are a vegetarian family but do eat dairy, eggs, honey. No meat is allowed in the house. Part of the helping hours will include meal preparation which is shared.

About the ‘Not for Profit Organisation’: We run a NPO called "Sihlangene Kokwethu". This organization was set up for the purpose of environmental education and sustainability and for local economic development. We achieve this by providing “Permaculture and Sustainability” workshops to the local community through the Impendle Eco-Schools programme, to other members of the public through on-site tours, and through the Impendle Eco-Tourism programme that offers overnight homestays in Impendle and work-exchange at the Impendle Eco-Schools.


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