Green Living

Green Initiatives

Compiled by Mariola Jakutowicz Fouché Photographs Supplied GROWING POWER Cultivating urban farmers is a passion of Abalimi Bezekhaya, a non-profit organisation based in the Western Cape townships. Its agriculture initiative, Harvest of Hope (HoH), is a marketing project that teaches residents to grow organic vegetables on pieces of urban wasteland – enabling them to put food on their tables. The surplus is sold in a vegetable-box scheme that supplies Capetonians and even five-star establishments, such as the Mount Nelson Hotel, with fresh produce on a weekly basis. A NEW LEAF Olive Leaf Tea (R35) from Blue Sky Organics is steeped with healing properties that include immune-system and skin support, antioxidant protection, cardiovascular health and increased energy. Get it at selected delis and health shops countrywide, or online at SUPERFOOD FOR THE SKIN The Organic Terres D’Afrique Skincare range combines botanical ingredients with fragrances by local perfumer Tammy Frazer. All products have been sustainably developed, and packaging and processes have an equally light footprint. Visit the new Joburg store: Cnr Main St and Kruger St, Maboneng Precinct. Q&A Christina Tenjiwe Kaba Christina  Tenjiwe Kaba, the award-winning co-director of Abalimi Bezekhaya, tells us more about HoH (see above) and its drive towards poverty relief and empowerment. Who are the HoH micro-farmers? Unemployed adults, the majority of whom are mothers and grandmothers, who want to feed their families and earn a regular income. The only requirements are to sign up, pay a registration fee for training, show up in your garden and make it happen. How have the communities benefited? About 3 000 micro-farmers participate in the wider Abalimi programme and each sustains a family of around five people, so thousands are being fed at very low cost. About 160 supply the HoH box scheme at present, with hundreds more clamouring to join. Can joining HoH contribute to social and environmental awareness? Apart from enjoying fresh, organic veggies, joining HoH means members directly support sustainable farming, nature conservation (on bits of land that are converted to sanctuaries for indigenous flora and fauna because of the special hedges and windbreaks that are planted) and job creation, and they also lower their carbon footprint by buying produce grown within 100km of their homes. HoH’s biggest challenge? The ‘entitled consumer’ mindset, which is prevalent in rich and poor communities in SA. Few want to produce food. Most want simply to consume. Your vision for the future? That HoH becomes common in most cities in SA, stimulating food security and jobs for thousands. This article was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of House and Leisure.