Pat Featherstone – biologist, environmentalist, teacher, and author – started Soil for Life in 2002 as a part of her life’s work to serve humanity and to create strong positive energies where there are none. “The people I meet, and work alongside, have opened a whole new depth of human experience for me. They have opened up my soul, and given me the opportunity to become one of many ‘change-makers’ working to create a new consciousness on the planet.” Since Soil for Life started in 2002 they have helped more than 1,800 families create earth-friendly home food gardens – growing healthy soil, food, people and communities.
- What are you most passionate about?
My work. It has encompassed every part of me – and my concern about environmental and human health. It has used everything I have learned, and I still carry on learning more-and-more every day. It has taken me deep into my inner self, and drawn out all my creativity and resourcefulness. It has taken me into the lives of so many people from all over the world. I have realised the true joy of loving them all.
- What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Saying NO to my body, when it had said ‘enough’. I just kept on going until it had me in the mulch!
- What makes you angry?
People who talk a lot about problems/challenges, but they don’t act.
- If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
My dream is to have a small-holding on which I can be completely self-sufficient.
- Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
100% gatherer. No short measures here. The only thing I ‘hunt’ for are the incredible miracles that occur in front of my nose and at my feet. Every inch of my garden/home is filled with masterpieces that constantly amaze me with their splendour.
- How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Five, excluding my sheepskin slippers and garden slops. The five pairs of shoes I do have are all the worse-for-wear.
- If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
I would prepare the ingredients for you to put together as you please. My absolute favourite are Vietnamese rice wraps filled with fresh raw vegetables, bean sprouts, avos, chopped peanuts or cashews, peanut satay and hoisin sauce and slices of omelette. Very good indeed. Virtually no mess; lots of talking and fun while people put them together; no time for cell phones because your hands are ‘on’ the food. A glass or two of Stellar organic wines to wash it all down.
- How would people communicate in a perfect world?
Talking to each other ‘around the table’ – looking deeply into people’s eyes. Hugging more often. Appreciating everybody that comes into your space. Forget about technology – cell phones, ipads, televisions.
- What do you work toward in your free time?
Spending time alone with my animals, and in my garden. Solitude, actually.
- If you woke up and had 300 unread emails and could only answer 30 of them, how would you choose which ones to answer?
I look for those that come from family and friends. I look for the ones that motivate or inspire me.
- Name 3 thing in nature you find most beautiful.
The canopy of stars in the night sky. Die Kom in Kommetjie – it is my ‘church’. A place of such solitude and with such magnificent views of the world. The sacred Ibis flock that fly over my house every evening at about 6.00pm. The sun is just setting as they fly over, and their wings look as though they are etched with gold.
- Have you used plastic bags for your shopping in the last two weeks?
Yes, I have to say that I have on a few occasions. I keep bags in the car always, and then I forget to take them into the shop.
- What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship to the environment?
Be aware of all the miracles of life around you. In Eckhart Tolle’s words – We are ultimately not separate from one another nor from any other living thing – the flower, the tree, the cat, the dog. You can sense yourself in them, the essence of who you are. You could say God.