Building a food garden in Khayelitsha on Do It Day

Last Saturday was annual Do It Day in South Africa. Organised by Greater Good South Africa, every year thousands of volunteers support various environmental, educational and social causes around the country. This year the Uluntu team decided to support Makazi Guesthouse in Khayelitsha to set up a township food garden for their Indlovu Project. Di Womersley from the Shaster Foundation, the driving force behind the project, arranged a great day involving kids from the surrounding community and Indlovu’s youth centre to lend a hand and work with the volunteers to learn more about recycling, food gardening and sustainable living.

The Indlovu Project was started in 2005 by Di Womersley and Buyiswa Tonono in order to set up public facilities that offer care and empowerment opportunities to the residents of Monwabisi Park, and in the long run establish a sustainable eco-village in the township. The community centre consists of a clinic, a youth centre, an education centre, a skills development workshop, a large community hall that also doubles as a cinema, a small shop and a creche. In order to make the project self-sustainable, a fundamental part of the Indlovu ethos, a volunteer organisation and guest house were constructed to bring not only income, but also skilled volunteers into the community.

Recycled old car tyres can make a great container garden.

Recycled old car tyres can make a great container garden.

Local kids getting their hands dirty.

Local kids getting their hands dirty.

Volunteers from all walks of life participated in Saturday’s food gardening project, and donated nearly a 900 seedlings, compost, manure and gardening tools. The quality of the soil in Khayelitsha is very poor and old car tyres, buckets, suitcases and various plastic containers were recycled> and used to create a container garden instead of planting seedlings directly into the soil.

The kids were very excited and eager to participate, and with their help we managed to get all the seedlings into pots and containers in less than 3 hours! If all goes according to plan the garden will produce a harvest of cabbage, tomatoes, chillies, green pepper, lettuce, onion, spinach and peas which will be used by the crèche, youth centre and guesthouse.

Mulching with straw to protect seedlings

Mulching with straw to protect seedlings

Watering the recycled tyre containers.

Watering the recycled tyre containers.

We look forward to popping in at Makazi’s in a couple of months time to see how the garden is coming along. Those who are interested in visiting Makazi’s or getting involved in one of their projects can contact us.

First published on the Uluntu Africa blog.

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