Our journey as the Soft Foot Alliance has been born of our own experiences in ‘walking the talk’ creating a permaculture homestead was a huge part of this. Laurie has been using natural materials to build and experimenting for the past 10 years and in the past 2 years this has started to grow into the work of the soft foot alliance and training local builders.
The soft foot homestead demonstrates multiple natural building methods from sundried earth-bricks, earthbags and rammed earth. Industrial building systems are extractive in the means of production of the materials and extremely energy intensive, if we look at the stories of how each material is produced, which human and animal communities were destroyed to produce them, then we can realize another way must be possible. Natural building brings traditional knowledge from many cultures and new knowledge together to build extremely comfortable long-lasting structures.

Rammed earth building has been the focus for the past 2 years as this is a standardized building method through-out southern Africa and so can be used to build anywhere. During lockdowns this is where Laurie designed a compost toilet from rammed earth as the first test. Using a maximum amount of soil from the land as this is the least energy used, no need for transportation. Learning about each detail, through trial and error and learning by doing.

Tadeladkt natural plaster

inside the compost toilet

We have since followed a design for a rammed earth building following architects plans to showcase this method and learn further.

In May 2022 plans for a ‘bio-regional regenerative skills hub’ have been approved, the designs were created by students and lecturers of the National university of science and technology. We are so excited by the design for the rammed earth buildings, where no tree shall be cut and compost toilets are also part of the design.

We are currently fundraising for this to become a reality, please get in touch if you would like to help!

Have a look at the YouTube video of the plans here

rammed earth compost toilet

co-existence at the soft foot homestead

Rammed Earth Bed