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May 13, 2014

Cape Town Tourism Cares: Grannies make a difference with Gugulethu garden

At Cape Town Tourism, we’re big on giving back to the Mother City’s residents in need ,  so when we recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Rob Small of Abalimi Bezekhaya ( Farmers of Home) at one of the community vegetable gardens in Gugulethu, we just had to tell you about it.

Grannies making a difference by working at the Fezeka-Gugulethu garden in Cape Town.Image courtesy of Abalimi

Rob was conducting a fact finding tour with a group of Climate Change students, Lead SA representatives, Biomimicry undergraduates (yes, we had to look THAT one up)  and a Bio-dynamic agriculturist from France!

Working in the Cape Flats Area where a large proportion of the population is unemployed and living in informal settlements, the organization targets these communities and empowers them through urban agriculture and environmental programmes.

We met the Mamas (mothers) and Gogos (grannies) of the garden and chatted to a young man who  is part of the Gugulethu Magistrate’s Young Offender programme.  Wearing a T shirt “I will not Quit”, this young man is doing his community service in the garden and was clearly reaping the benefits of rehabilitation rather than hours behind bars.

There are 100 community gardens in the area and over 1,000 home gardens.  Produce from a number of the gardens is distributed by Harvest of Hope through a weekly distribution programme. Rob’s vision and enthusiasm is contagious – he talks about a micro farming movement like the activist that he is and how food security would not be an issue if there was a total rethink of how we feed our cities utilising micro farming to a much greater extent.  It was really exciting to learn that all their gardens are organic and that the micro farmers are given a lot of training and support.  Regular sustainability assessments of some of the gardens,  gives Abalimi Bezekhaya valuable insight into the kind of ongoing support and training that is required.

Cape Town Tourism encourages our Industry members and residents to support Harvest of Hope, their distribution channel – a weekly delivery of a basket of delicious home grown organic veg from the gardens of the Cape Flats to your table.  There are other ways to support as well – have a look at www.abalimi.org.za - Cape Town Tourism has decided to donate R1,500.00 which will set up a Micro-farmer with everything he/she needs to get a veg garden going.

It’s heart-warming to see how small beginnings from a handful of seeds, can grow into something bountiful!   Harvest of Hope sums it up perfectly!

Keen to come to Cape Town for a Voluntourism stay? Find out more here.

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