Travel

Urban Goes Green: Part I. Oranjezicht City Farm: a Neighbourhood Project Turned Community Upliftment

How a group of like-minded neighbours went on to uplift their community and grow food with a purpose
Valentina Nicol

In an effort to uplift their community and grow food with a purpose, a group of like-minded neighbours invested in a plot of land that, although a thriving homestead for seven generations, had since been neglected. Cape Town's Oranjezicht City Farm was born, restoring a small portion of the once vast farm to its earliest function.

Founded in 2012 and intent on making a difference to the community, the site of OZCF now comprises part of the Oranjezicht farmstead, a non-profit project that has grown from strength to strength, but still remains steadfast in its founding philosophy: 'to celebrate food, culture and community farming,' shares co-founder Kurt Ackermann, who has nurtured the project from the very beginning. Investing in the welfare of the site, and after clean-ups and cutting of weeds and overgrowth, in just five years the OZCF has become a sustainable agricultural platform that has gone on to support its locale, not to mention more than 25 small-hold farmers and their farms, and feed the many mouths that opt for fresh, locally grown organic fruit and veg over commercial overproduction. 

Add to that the weekly farmer's market that saw a 'slight' 1 200 feet pass through its tiny gates – now a thriving Saturday and Sunday market reaching more than 7 000 visitors. So popular, in fact, that it's now too big to be hosted adjacent to the farm and lives in Granger Bay; it's own flourishing business entirely. 

Ardently received by Capetonian residents and visitors, the very basis of community growth, gardening, farming and appreciation for organically cultivated produce means that sustainable agriculture and investment in a social fabric is not only necessary, but binding. It speaks to our intrinsic desire to support the hand that feeds us – or maybe even grow, pick and choose that food ourselves.

Visit OZCF every Saturday from 9am for a pick-your-own harvest, kids' activities, and light refreshments including coffee, tea, cordials, and healthy bites at the weekly community gathering on the farm. Seedlings, compost, bokashi available too – and always an added something special each week. For more info: ozcf.co.za.