‘Gardening changed my life’

2016-11-22 06:00
Steenberg residents who participated in Soil for Life training received certificates in the non-profit organisation’s annual home food gardening awards. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Steenberg residents who participated in Soil for Life training received certificates in the non-profit organisation’s annual home food gardening awards. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Shaun Bosch from Steenberg says since he started gardening with the help of Soil for Life his life has changed for the better.

A truck driver by profession, he says he had been suffering from epilepsy but not anymore since he started doing his garden.

“I have found great love for the garden. Before I started this I used to have seizures almost every day. However, that doesn’t happen anymore. I have found strength and comfort in my garden.

“I have been a truck driver all my life and if I could do it all over again I would do gardening. It just brings a new life and energy in me. I really appreciate what Soil for Life has done for me. It changed my life,” he says.

Deserving gardeners walked away with certificates at the annual Home Food Gardening Awards by Soil for Life last Wednesday. Bosch was one of the winners of the Green Heroes category.

The awards are to acknowledge the successes of Soil for Life’s “graduates” of its home food gardening programme in Khayelitsha, Steenberg, Delft, Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu.

More than 10 gardeners won awards in categories like Best New Home Gardener and Best Container Gardener.

Soil for Life is a non-profit organisation in Constantia on a mission to grow healthy soil, people and communities. The organisation helps people learn to grow healthy, organic food using simple, low cost, environmentally friendly methods with whatever resources available. It has trained thousands of people since 2002.

Sandi Lewis, senior trainer of Soil for Life, says their main target is the unemployed so that they can make a living from their garden.

“It is only R15 to enter and they are taught for three months. For that money they get badges, a booklet, compost, seedlings and seeds and they are taught how to start their gardens, maintain them and even how to eat healthy,” she says.

“What makes our programme special is that we go visit our participants and give them one-on-one tips on how to use the space they have. We use everything in this house. We basically show them that nothing has to go to waste. Be it bottles, milk containers, used tea bags, dishes, damaged TVs, old bath tubs. Nothing should be thrown away.”

Another award winner, Connie Smart from Steenberg, says her love for gardening is on a whole new level. She and her husband Gerhard won in the Best Home Gardener category.

“It’s like the garden has become my life. I love gardening so much that I have a close relationship with the plants. I touch, feel them and talk to them. Just by touching I can see what they are lacking and what they need to be healthy. The course has made it extra special because we are taught so many things.”

V Readers who want to participate in the next classes starting in March 2017 can contact Sandi Lewis on 073 159 2128 or Soil for Life on 021 794 4982.

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