Lesley Freedman
, Founder and Executive Director of the Whole Earth Building Foundation.


Lesley Freedman’s area of interest has been capacity building in economical, affordable building methods using locally available materials and energy derived from the natural environment. Studying at CRAterre and travelling in Mali were turning points in her career and led to her determination to incorporate local culture into settlement patterns, building materials and technologies and encourage self determination through training and job creation. She has an enthusiastic and passionate team of Architects, Builders, Engineers, Permaculturalists and Biodynamic practitioners and consultants who are uniquely skilled to conduct these programmes. 


Click to read about Lesley Freedman




Peter McIntosh. In 2011, Freedman partnered with Peter, who is responsible for the Building Training in the Whole Earth Building Foundation. He teaches natural building in an accredited course to architects, owner-builders, engineers and sustainable development practitioners around South Africa and at the Klein Karoo Sustainable Drylands Permaculture Project (KKSDPP), a Section 21 Company or Not-for-Profit Organisation that owns the farm Berg-en-Dal near Ladismith in the Klein Karoo in the Western Cape, South Africa, where Peter lives. The farm is home to a community of people who run the KKSDPP, whose aim is to create a sustainable community in a dryland region, using Permaculture design and principles. This community model is used to train people from all over the world in the various approaches of Permaculture and building and many other aspects of sustainable ecological living and culture and self reliance. 

The partnership now includes Alex Kruger, Gavin Lutge, Andy Horn, Hermie Voulgarelis Delport, Heather Young, Xola dos Santos, Gerhard Scheepers and Marsha Sanders with whom workshops, developing an integrated approach to sustainable human settlement development are ongoing.

Alex Kruger

Alex Kruger is a Permaculturalist whose experience ranges from small scale urban to broad scale rural food security. She has worked for a range of government departments on urban food security, health and rural livelihoods. She has been contracted by NGOs to do work in urban and rural food security and landscape design. Her work includes collaboration with architects and engineers to incorporate Permaculture into the built environment. She lives and works at the Klein Karoo Sustainable Drylands Permaculture Project on Berg-en-Dal, located in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains outside Ladismith.

GavinportrateGavin Lutge is a structural engineer who has been involved with sustainable buildings since 2005. These include cob, adobe, straw bale, sandbag and the extensive use of sustainable, renewable and recycled non-toxic materials.



Andy HornAndy Horn established his architectural practice, Eco Design – Architects and Consultants, in 1998. The practice has a strong emphasis on the use of local natural materials, involving user participation and on-site training. They have been working on natural building projects from the outset. The practice has been awarded a number of international sustainable building awards, having gained experience in rammed earth, mud brick and straw bale, cob, sandbag, stone and urbanite and Compressed Earth Bricks (CEBs), with lime dung and earthen plasters.

Heather YoungHeather Young worked as Secretary at Michael Oak Waldorf School in Cape Town for 16 years and as Fundraising and Bursary Coordinator for four years. She has enriched and enhanced the Whole Earth Building Foundation with advice over many years.


Xola448Xola dos Santos is the Director of the Khayelitsha Social Centre project, working with the Whole Earth Building Foundation to build a sustainable Social Centre. He is studying for his Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree through UNISA. He does volunteer work and project training in the township areas surrounding Cape Town and is part of the co-operatively run resource center Bolo’bolo. He has talents in desktop publishing, graphic design, legal administration and trombone playing.


Hermie Delport Voulgarelis is an architect and senior lecturer in the Department of Architectural Technology in the Faculty of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Her work integrates academic projects with Workplace Learning (WPL) and Service Learning (SL) to ensure an enhanced learning experience for students, while at the same time, achieving community engagement and social responsiveness. We are working with her department on the accreditation of our training programme.

Gerhard Scheepers

Gerhard Scheepers has experience in natural architecture in terms of building and design and has developed an understanding of the appropriate application of natural materials. He worked on projects for Greenhaus Architects, the original green architectural firm in South Africa, and with green builders. He provides the computer based three dimensional modeling and technical draughting for the Whole Earth Building Foundation.


Marsha Sanders is retired but remains active doing voluntary work, as a trustee of Help the Rural Child in Cape Town and with the Zimbabwe Association in London, where she has initiated a knitting project and market stall with Zimbabwean women exiles to provide support and companionship. She helped to set up an organic vegetable garden to supply rural youth centres in the Riebeek Valley with fresh produce. During her working life she worked in community development with refugees and asylum seekers in England. She is a consultant to the Whole Earth Building Foundation.


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