With the advent of rating agencies like EuroGap (later GlobalGap) in the 1990’s, Tommie was at the same time positive about the international shift in thinking in agriculture, but also dissatisfied with the often mechanistic (and in Africa - inappropriate) regulations.
The idea arose to create our own set of rules for economically, socially and environmentally sustainable farming. In 1992 Professor Freek Engelbecht was recruited as advisor and HR Manager at ZZ2.
Previously professor of philosophy, and steeped in classical thinking, he also served as Rector of the University of the North. Prof Engelbrecht immediately saw the need of more than a technical change of behaviour in agriculture (and indeed business in general), and introduced ZZ2 to the paradigm shift from closed (mechanistic) system thinking, to open (living) system of thinking*.
This change in outlook meshed perfectly with Tommie’s ideas about farming and business.
In 1997, Prof Erik Holm (entomologist and system ecologist) and in 1999, his brother, Prof Dieter Holm (architect and proponent of natural energy design) were co-opted to this think tank. For several years this team met on a regular basis for sessions of intense theorizing.
The results were eventually formulated in what has become known as ZZ2’s Meta-Strategy (the strategy on which we base all our specific strategies).
This meta-strategy incorporates our mission and inspiration (or vision), our approach to ethics, and our guiding principles to farming practices. The latter was eventually named and registered as Natuurboerdery® (Nature Farming) and introduced to the public by Tommie van Zyl at the All Fresh Conference of 2005.