Location: Gugulethu and Phillipi
Date/time: 25 January 2011 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
On a beautiful summers day we all got together and eventually, after everybody got through the traffic and we sorted out the car sharing, we departed in convoy to our first destination. Although I think the work that is done by Abalimi Bezekhaya is just as important as that of ministers and presidents, we unfortunately did not have the traffic police to open lanes for us.
Gugulethu Intermedia Secondary School
We arrived at our first destination in Gugulethu vastly different from the city life we just left behind. One felt ashamed of this life of abundance that we got so used to and amazed of what can be done if there is belief, a lot of hard work and passion for something. Huddled all together in a patch of shade, we listened to Rob telling us about the work that Abalimi is doing.
A little bit further, in the scorching sun, we could see two people working in their gardens. They were there to work…. to put bread on the table and a roof over the heads of their families. Listening to Rob, one realised how used we got to the way we live. We drive in our luxury cars, we quickly stop at the store to buy vegetables, and sometimes microwave meals. Everything has to be bigger, better and faster.
Contrary to this, unemployed people move to the city in hope for a job, but with the little education some of them have, there is little hope that they will be able to get jobs. This is where Abalami stepped in; to provide opportunities for uneducated people to own a patch of land and provide for their families and their community.
Herewith a little bit more on the work that ABALIMI does:
Abalimi Bezekhaya (“Farmers of the Home”) work in the sub-economic townships of Cape Town with the aim to overcome poverty through organic micro-farming in home and community allotment gardens. The movement, led by the farmers for the famers, supports approximately 3000 micro-farmers every year, and provides super-abundant, fresh food for all, as well as hundreds of self-help jobs. Because vegetables are grown, sold and consumed locally, many positive social impacts are felt throughout the community. Besides poverty alleviation and self help job creation, organic micro-framing is a huge help to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.
They are continuing with their work, striving to implement organic gardens, which are helping to combat poverty and the degradation of the environment.
They are collaborating with approximately 3000 farmers of which 2000 are now registered with Abalimi which enables them to fully benefit from the Abalimi support. Since October 2009 and March 2010 Abalimi has supplied over R212 000 worth of manure, seeds, seedlings, compost and tools to 1682 home gardeners and 50 community gardeners, thus continuing the process it has started in 1982.
Harvest of Hope Packshed
We also stopped at the “Harvest of Hope (HOH)” pack shed where they provide top quality, organically grown seasonal vegetables to over 200 families per week in the more affluent suburbs of Cape Town. At the same time it is giving a reliable income to approximately 90 (and growing fast) urban micro-farmers living in the sub-economic townships of Cape Town. Customers of HOH pay in advance for their ‘produce share’ and therefore they are not just consumers, but also members of a movement for local economic and environmental sustainability and social change.
More than 200 boxes of fresh, same-day harvested vegetables are now sold every week. The consumers pick up their vegetables at different delivery points throughout Cape Town. They aim to deliver 600 boxes per week by 2012, contracting up to 200 to 250 micro farmers.
Our last stop for the day was at the day hospital where they have some more amazing food gardens that are once again used for feeding the local community and training people on how to manage their own food garden. As with all the other gardens there is a huge focus on feeding the soil and using local indigenous plants as wind breakers – two very important factors on the windy Cape Flats.
As Rob Small says “There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to go without top quality fresh organically grown food, year round – rich and poor alike.” He invites all to become members of “Harvest of Hope” and get the freshest, highest quality locally grown, seasonal produce delivered to a drop-off point near you. We can all vouch for the highest quality as we all had the opportunity to buy some of the organic produce when we visited the pack shed. Visit www.harvestofhope.co.za for more information. You can also contact them to buy the Seed to Table Cookbook (for only R100)! You will find the most wonderful recipes that you can make of all these fresh organic vegetables from the HOH gardens.