Lack of rain not drying up hope for Eastern Cape communities

Paulina Ntontela is one of more than 80 Eastern Cape residents who have started producing their own food through the use of sustainable homestead gardens
GOING SOLO: Paulina Ntontela is one of more than 80 Eastern Cape residents who have started producing their own food through the use of sustainable homestead gardens
Image: SUPPLIED

 

The lack of rain is not drying up hopes for Eastern Cape communities who have taken food production into their hands through subsistence farming.  

With the help of the Shoprite Group’s community food garden programme, “garden in a bucket kits” were rolled out to 82 homestead gardens in the province.

After being reviewed, selected farmers are provided with a “garden in a bucket” starter kit which contains seedlings, hand tools, organic fertiliser and a training manual.

Monthly training workshops are presented by the retailer.

Countrywide it has partnered with more than 100 of these gardens benefiting more than 22,000 people.

Three of these gardens are situated in and around Port Elizabeth.

They are Wathint’ Abafazi in Joe Slovo, Khanyisa School for the Blind in KwaDwesi and the Lim’uphile Agricultural Organisation in Walmer.

Zingisa Magalela, who oversees the community garden at the Khanyisa School for the Blind, said:  “We need to be able to look after ourselves in a drought like this, but we cannot do it on our own.

“And if we want to teach our children to do the same, we need all the help we can get.” 

Members of the Lim’uphile Agricultural Organisation have been farming on a former dump site in Walmer for 10 years.

They registered their co-operative in 2015 and sell produce, including carrots, spinach and kale, to the local community.

Wathint’ Abafazi founder Patricia Piyani has managed to set up a sustainable vegetable farm, feeding more than 200 residents almost daily — particularly during the school terms.

Another beneficiary is Fikile Khiva, a project member of the Varhoyi and Mgodleni Co-op in Nkageni Park near King William’s Town, where 10 homes beneftted from  the “garden in a bucket” kits.

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