Raymond Michael Brett AUERBACH was born in South Africa on 24 September 1953. He is married to Christina (teacher and healer), and they have three adult children and a grand-daughter.
Raymond completed a Doctorate in Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (Integrated Catchment Management, Rainwater Harvesting, Sustainable Farming and Experiential Learning) at Wageningen Agricultural University (Netherlands), an MSc at Natal (Sustainable Farming Systems) and an Apprenticeship in Organic (BioDynamic) Farming in Australia, specialising in soil fertility and dairy science. He was Africa Representative on the Board of the International Association for Farming Systems Research and Extension, and is associate professor of soil science & plant production at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s George Campus, where he manages a long-term comparative farming systems Agro-ecology Research Programme, which includes work on campus and post-graduates in Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania. He has done extensive research with the SA Water Research Commission and the Energy for Development Research Centre at the University of Cape Town. He is an African Earth Observatory Network Research Fellow, and Extraordinary Associate Professor at Stellenbosch University’s Sustainability Institute. He was declared a Champion of Ecological Organic Agriculture in Africa by the African Union Commission, and received the Engagement Excellence Award for 2016 from his university, now called the Nelson Mandela University (officially from January 2017).
Ecologically sound crop production and dairy farming, and Integrated Pest Management.
Water-efficient farming, wetland rehabilitation and rainwater harvesting systems design.
Renewable energy in agriculture, water use efficiency and agricultural policy research.
Pioneer and Teacher of Participatory Rural Appraisal and of Experiential Learning approaches.
Co-operative Development (Primary [Producer] and Secondary [Marketing] Co-ops).
Participatory Action Research and Experiential Learning Methodologies.
Curriculum development using experiential learning in a trans-disciplinary context.
Raymond is also still Director of the Rainman Landcare Foundation which he founded in 1999.
He farmed organically for forty years in KwaZulu-Natal with Christina, and they still own a small coffee farm there.
Raymond is a leader within the African Organic Sector, specialising in capacity building for emerging organic farmers and Participatory Guarantee Systems for local organic certification; involved in the current development of a research programme for Organic Research in Southern and Eastern African Farming Systems, and has published extensively. In 2015 Raymond helped found Regeneration International in Costa Rica, to help tackle climate change and food sovereignty issues.
He is a curriculum development specialist, having edited Organic Farming and Organic Facilitation Manuals and Workbooks for Rainman Landcare Foundation over the past fifteen years, developed twelve qualifications as part of AgriSETA National Working Group, developed the National Landcare Facilitator Certificate, which is used to train South African Landcare Specialist Extension Officers, developed Specialist Quality Management courses for Internal Inspectors and for Community Group Participatory Guarantee Systems in the organic sector, and helped to set up the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network with WWF and IFOAM. His recent book published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, is entitled: Organic Agriculture: African experiences in resilience and sustainability (available as a pdf on the FAO website).
Raymond is also a keen linguist speaking several languages, including Xhosa and Zulu.
He is the Leader of the George Branch of the School of Practical Philosophy, and tutors Philosophy, Sanskrit and Economics; his wife Christina tutors philosophy and music, and runs a healing practice in George (Tattwmassi) using music, sound therapy and energy medicine.
Champion of Ecological Organic Agriculture in Africa, African Union Commission, 2015 (Lifetime Award). Engagement Excellence Award, NMMU, 2016.