There are few things more inspiring than seeing communities rallying around a common cause to improve their lives.
While there are as many causes as there are communities, in our experience, food gardens certainly have a particularly special way of bringing people together.
With our partners over at Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) we’ve been fortunate enough to support a number of truly inspiring community initiatives that have grown from patches of barren earth into flourishing gardens that feed hundreds.
Here are three of our favourite stories:
Empumelelweni project, Eastern Cape
The rural village of Goshen in the Amathole District of the Eastern Cape is home to a thriving community of 58 homestead gardeners.
It all started back in 2017 when Checkers took hands with the local Empumelelweni project to improve the community food garden at the Goshen Primary school.
Initially produce from this garden only benefited the 45 Empumelelweni project members. But soon the rest of the resident requested support with planting homestead gardens of their own.
Training workshops for the wider Goshen community commenced in 2018 and covered a wide array of topics – from permaculture to marketing. We presented these workshops in partnership with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) and also provided gardening tools for the budding farmers.
Those who reached their six-month goals were rewarded with items such as water tanks, seedlings and mesh fencing at a recent prize-giving event.
Jericho Business Forum Co-Op, North West
A small yet passionate farming enterprise in the remote North West village of Jericho, located about 45km outside of Brits, is making a difference by providing food to the poorest members of their community.
Headed up by Tutu Phalatse, the Jericho Business Forum Co-Op nurtures a community garden that produces beautiful butternuts, pumpkins, cabbages, tomatoes and onions.
When soil infertility started threatening their crops a few years ago, Tutu and his team approached us for support.
Checkers partnered with the Jericho Business Forum Co-op in 2017 to establish an effective and sustainable long-term solution. It included providing the team with extensive permaculture training and 3 000 new seedlings.
Today this farming enterprise is once again able to support the community. They also generate
Varhoyi and Mgodleni Co-op, Eastern Cape
Fikile Khiva, a resident of Nkangeni Park in the Eastern Cape, had a dream to create jobs, alleviate poverty and build a rural community that could sustain itself.
So, along with four of his peers, he established a trading entity known as the Varhoyi and Mgodleni Co-op. Over the past 10 years, the co-op has grown to over 40 members and is home to a thriving 30-hectare food garden.
But this wasn’t always the case.
When Fikile and his team first started their project, they only had 1 hectare of land. It was overgrown and unfenced, which meant they had to spend a lot of time cleaning and preparing it for planting.
Seeing the potential for growth, Fikile approached Checkers for assistance: “I wanted to formalise the garden.”
Food and Trees for Africa assisted by offering workshops covering gardening methods as well as modules in business administration. Since the co-op has been established on communal land, the entire community benefits from the garden’s yield.
“Every 10% of the yield goes to the owner of the plot or garden as ‘rental’ and the owner can then either consume or sell the stock back to the project, Fikile explains.
Do you know of a community food garden that needs some support? Click here to email us!