A food garden – and the potential to feed the community – is growing in Gugulethu.
And there was jubilation at St Columba Anglican Church in NY 109, as gardening graduates received their certificates after participating in a six-week training programme at the Ligugu Lethu Garden.
Last Thursday morning, men and women gathered at the local church to reap what they sowed, having learned skills and practical horticultural techniques to empower themselves and uplift the community.
According to co-ordinator Gugu Mazibuko, the students were taught not only gardening techniques but also to value themselves and the people around them and to live a meaningful life.
Ms Mazibuko said the church decided to give back to the community of Gugulethu and surrounds after noting the impact of the coronavirus on residents.
She said gardening is a part of the way of life for Africans and that their aim was to revive and remind people that ploughing and planting would make things easier for them.
“We’ve given skills and support and now it’s all up to them to make a difference. Today they are reaping what they have sowed. But I am proud of them for taking up the initiative to empower themselves and hopefully they will uplift their community as well,” she said.
“During the strict lockdown we suffered a lot. Prices were ridiculously inflated. A small bunch of spinach was way too expensive and yet things like spinach, onions and potatoes are some of the vegetables that we easily planted at home.
“After that, the church realised that there was a need to remind people of the past. We used to plant mealies and vegetables. If people are now doing their small gardens, it means they will save a lot. That is why we are encouraging them to have gardens. They can use tyres, old dishes and other things to plant. One does not have the whole land to plant, use whatever you have and have your vegetables,” she told Vukani.
When Vukani arrived, beneficiaries were busy cooking some of their fresh produce.
Nondumiso Mayekiso was elated to have learned how to do compost, plough and work the soil.
She said it was first time she got involved in gardening and was grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills. “It was six week of hard work from us all. We learnt and enjoyed ourselves at the same time. I think our teachers were just brilliant. I now know what crop rotation is and many other garden things,” she said.
Now, she said, she has started a small garden at home and is passing her gardening skills on to her neighbours and children.