A lively barter market during which the ingenuity of staff and students of the Faculty AgriScience were on full display was held last week in front of the Conservatorium. It formed part of the Faculty’s centenary celebrations. It felt very much like a fête – but with no money exchanging hands.
In the spirit of bartering an aubergine was exchanged for a bottle of plant feed, a piece of chocolate cake for a bag full of green peppers, and decorated gift bags for seedlings grown in empty eggshells. The Aquaculture Division brought fresh tilapia, while keen gardeners in the faculty were able to show off products from their own vegetable gardens.
The Department of Agronomy made the best of a crate of books they were donated, while the Plant Breeding Laboratory offered seasoned popcorn in exchange. The “Vlei Vinke” team of the Department of Agricultural Economics bartered bottled water. Their piece de resistance was the craftily made labels of little birds around the neck of each bottle.
The market was officially opened with the ringing of a bell by Prof Danie Brink, dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences. He congratulated faculty members on their creativity and thanked them for their contribution towards delivering outstanding teaching and research at the University. He informed attendees about future plans for the Faculty, which include increasing student numbers.
Market organiser Carin Bruce was pleasantly surprised by the creative ideas and the vibrant atmosphere in the market place. “There were even a few staff members from different departments who had the opportunity of meeting each other face to face for the first time, after having communicated via email and the telephone for many years,” said Bruce.
The Dassie vineyard robot was put through its paces during the event. It also saw the handing over of a cheque of more than R1650 donated by faculty members to Dr Rhoda Malgas’ Small Things Fund. The fund is used to provide small amounts of money to students in need to buy anything from a calculator to a handbook or an overall.
The judges had a difficult task to choose between the best wares on display. The prize for the most creative idea went to the Good Luck Tin of Anchen Lombard and the Department of Food Science. Each tin was decorated with a distinctly Stellenbosch label, and contained small fun items. The best marketing idea was that of the Department of Plant Pathology. They offered two fruit cocktails named after well-known tropical diseases: “Pineapple Powdery Mildew” and “Watermelon Antracnose”. (As far as we know no-one suffered any side effects!). The prize for the best team spirit was shared between the Department of Soil Science and Monika Basson.
The concept of a barter market was started a few years ago in the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology. According to department chair Prof Karen Esler it started off as a social experiment, and also an opportunity for staff members to show off their gardening skills and craftmanship.
Further centenary celebrations
The centenary celebrations of the Faculty of AgriSciences coincide with that of Stellenbosch University – and also the 100 year celebrations of the Departments of Plant Pathology, Genetics, Soil Science and Horticulture.
In celebration, 100 trees have already been planted at Welgevallen Experimental Farm.
The celebrations culminate with a series of memorial lectures, a wine tasting and a gala dinner on Friday 4 May.
Memorial lectures are being planned by the four departments celebrating their centenary. These will take place in parallel in different buildings on campus on Friday 4 May at 15:30. Entrance is free. Among the speakers are Willem Botes (Department of Genetics), Prof Leopoldt van Huyssteen (Department of Soil Science) and Dr Cheryl Lennox (Department of Plant Pathology).
Afterwards, a tasting of Die Laan wines from the SU’s own Welgevallen wine cellar will be held.
The Centenary Gala Dinner takes place at 18:30 at Spier. The popular song writer and television personality Coenie de Villiers will be the guest artist. A limited number of tickets are still available.
Paintings of some of the faculty’s historic buildings by artist Diane Johnson-Ackerman will be on display.