Developing skills for unemployed youth through using community gardens for subsistence and for an opportunity to develop important life, agricultural and business skills for small business opportunities.
We are currently working in partnership with Maputha Ditshaba High School who have offered us a piece of land that we will create a community garden to help local community members sustain themselves and their families and increase income generation. Initially high school graduates will have the opportunity to learn new skills and a sustainable way of feeding themselves and their families. It will be a self-sustaining model where the youth will receive equipment and training in the garden to be able to produce vegetables for their own sustenance as well as producing seedling boxes for others. As a second phase we will provide training in basic business skills to assist with future income generation and further education.
Long Term Impact: The youth will create seedling boxes and vegetables to sell for income generation and so they can start their own garden at home. These youths will be using seedlings to start their own garden at home or continue into commercial farming to maximize income generation and partner with local businesses.
Many of the local residents live with family or extended family in basic housing due to the levels of poverty in the area, and the level of education is low with many of the population aged 20 years and above having no formal schooling. Although rates of Primary School attendance are improving, further and higher education in the area remains a challenge. This, in turn, increases the high unemployment rate, which currently sits at over 50%.
- 2017: We started phase 1 of the project where we were able to secure permission for the use of the land from the Maputha Ditshaba High School and land has seen the developments of 87 garden beds. Having planted 1615 seedlings of cabbage, beetroot, spring onion, chillies, spinach, tomatoes and green pepper, we have been able to provide 1066 full meals for 6 participants and their families with a nutrition content of 197kg.
With the drought in South Africa, the team became innovative and have put in place an watering system with 2L plastic bottles. By planting them upside down in the soil, we won’t lose water through evaporation and because the water goes deeper in the soil the plants will grow deeper and stronger roots. The gardeners and the volunteers are already collecting them and we have already planted 15 of them. Adding to that, we put in place mulching. The idea is to cover the soil with a layer of hay/dry grass in order to retain the water in the soil and to keep it protected.
We have completed compost bins and to get some aromatic herbs to fight against some pests.
- 2018: We started Phase 2 of the project with a local successful farmer who has allotted us with 5 hectares of his land to be cultivated by the Farmers of the Future participants for their own development. Funds were spent to support the four farmers, on the purchase of stationery items used in the workshops held to support the young farmers, ploughing of the land by the Department of Agriculture, water sources for the land, and the provision of seedlings and gardening equipment.
- 2019: The goal is to increase the number of farmers attending the programme and to expand each phase, including the last phase which includes the business development.