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May 20, 2020
Chemical Free Living
Chemical Free living, Ricky’s journey…
July 2, 2020

How it began

Ricky’s Drift is a working organic olive farm with 3 guest cottages and 10km’s of hiking trails. For 4 years we have been working on our natural range of chemical and cruelty free products. We have learned treating waste water with respect is big part of pioneering chemical free living.

In 2011 Ricky developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and his life changed forever. He was forced to withdraw from the world. With most bodies, buildings, vehicles and open spaces saturated with a cocktail of chemicals. Excluded from most activities, places and events by his body’s inability to tolerate even small exposures to ordinary, everyday things like soap, perfume and laundry products. He searched for somewhere safe and began pioneering chemical free living.

The beautiful Karoo mountains and Ricky with his beloved dogs Dixie and Jess.

Our valley is in the foothills of the Rooiberg Mountains in the Klein Karoo, South Africa. Far away from any kind of commercial farming activity, factories, big roads and cities. Out here the air is clean and there is pristine veld in every direction. Our guiding aim is to create a chemical free haven in this modern world. Chemicals have become common place and their damaging impact on all living things has been forgotten.

The farm and people pioneering chemical free living

Louise brought to the farm her lifelong passion for protecting the natural world. A committed vegan and a food farmer she works on creating sanctuary for life. To allow healing to happen from the ground up. We produce olives, herbs and vegetables and the rest of the land is left to the wild plants and animals.

Louise in her happy place and Edith with baby Benjamin.

Keeping a farm running is definitely not a 1 woman job! We are blessed to have Andrew, Edith, baby Benjamin and Dan living with us on the farm. They are all from Malawi and have such a history of living of the land. Somehow this family landed in Vanwyksdorp at just the right time and joined our community. Edith has a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit and a background in hotel school and catering. Her dream is to have a shop one day. We see opportunity for her helping us create a tea house alongside our soap factory in the near future.

Louise, Ricky, Dan and Andrew.

Andrew studied mechanics and likes mechanical challenges. He is the true caretaker of the 1000 olive trees on the farm. Their son Benjamin is about to walk at 1 years old and shares his joy with all of us. There is a lovely brother sisterly bond forming between Tia and Benjamin. Dan is our Mr Fixit, without him lots would be broken, he is always there to fix any problematic situation.

The soap business and Pioneering chemical free living

Pam is Louise’s sister and she joined us in 2015 to help create a range of body and home care products that Ricky could trust. Our aim was to create simple, effective, daily use products like soap, shampoo and laundry powder that were safe for Ricky and for nature. Pam’s product developments keep improving on the effectiveness and quality of our products. Leading to the creation of this versatile range that we now share with you. Pam and has been joined by Estelle a local artist, whose creativity and out the box thinking is helping to take the range forward.

Pam, Estelle and Eve our soap making team.

Eve is originally from Uganda and came to Van Wyksdorp to visit a friend after working in Dubai for 4 years. With a passion for soap making she joined our team in August 2019 and has proven to be a valuable addition. Her dream is to one day take the soap making skills she has learnt from Ricky’s Drift back to Uganda to start her own business.

Together they work on developing new products to add to our range, giving people like Ricky more options and choice in an increasingly chemical world.

Our community continues to grow

Troy, Shane and their daughter Tia initially came to Ricky’s Drift for a visit in October 2019 and immediately fell in love with the deep stillness and beauty of the area. The organic and chemical free environment that we have created really appealed to them and they embraced the opportunity to become a part of the team.

Our newest Pioneering members in chemical free living
Troy, Shane and Tia.

Shane is doing maintenance and new projects like converting from Eskom power to solar, upgrading irrigation system and moving the soap factory from town onto the farm. In addition he works with and is learning from Louise in the gardens.

Troy is doing the admin for the soap business and the farm and is working with and learning from Louise in the gardens. Tia helps out where she can, making delicious treats with Edith and Ricky in the kitchen, looking after little Benjamin and helping out with baboon watch.

Our cottages and renovations

We have put a lot of time and loving energy into all of the cottages on the farm. They have all been renovated using only natural building materials and VOC free paints and varnishes. The bed linen and towels are washed in our natural, fragrance free laundry powder. We clean the houses with only edible cleaning products and each cottage is provided with our hand made, natural, chemical free soaps and shampoos.

chemical free renovations using no VOC and only natural materials.
All of the houses on the farm having been lovingly restored.

We have taken great care in keeping indoor and outdoor environments on the farm chemical and toxin free. We ask that visiting guests be respectful of our efforts and take care in not introducing chemicals into the cottages. This has been difficult as one guest wearing deodorant or essential oils can render bed linen, pillows and soft furnishings unsafe and unusable for future guests who are chemically sensitive. Therefore we can no longer call ourselves MCS safe.

However you can still enjoy an environment where chemicals and toxins are kept to a minimum therefore the air you breathe is pure.

We look forward to welcoming to you into our unique and peaceful space to give you a taste of pioneering chemical free living,

With love and zero chemicals

The Ricky’s Drift team.

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