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Elmarie van Aswegen (left) is the sixth generation Van Aswegen on the farm Patria (Latin for “fatherland”) in the district of Smithfield, southern Free Sate, South Africa.
The 1 600 ha farm is situated approximately 120 km’s south of Bloemfontein. The farm consists of grass veldt in combination with Karoo type shrubs on which all the sheep graze throughout the year. Elmarie also farms extensively with Afrino sheep for wool and mutton.
Elmarie believes in self-sustainability and going back to more traditional ways of farming than so called “scientific” farming practices which is more harmfull to the environment. The focus of her business is SUSTAINING AND MAINTAINING LIFE AND NOT PROFITEERING.
The farm is managed according to organic principles, though not organicly certified (Elmarie believes it is a money-making racket). The vegetable garden is organised according to Sepp Holzer’s guidelines for “Hugelkultuur”. Permaculture and the improvement of bio-diversity is very important on Patria.
Diatomaceous earth is used to improve both plant and animal health. No herbicides or pesticides are used and vaccinations of the livestock is limited to what is absolutely necessary.
Besides the sheep, Elmarie also farms with Simmentaler cattle, Kolbroek pigs, Buff turkeys and a variety of chickens for both eggs and meat production. In addition to this, there is a variety of fruit trees, prickly pears and both winter and summer vegetables. Besides this, Elmarie’s brother farms with Boer goats and Nguni cattle with her on the farm. He is also responsible for various solar power projects on the farm, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.
What’s in a Name? Elmarie felt that she needed a strong logo and literally woke up one morning with the picture of a lamb with angel wings and a halo above its head, in her mind. The word “Angelica” kept coming up and when she realised that “Ovis airies” is the Latin for sheep, she decided to call her business OVIS ANGELICA – literally meaning “Angelic sheep” The divine connection is also a good reflection of Elmarie’s values which filters through to the way she does business.
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