As the world prepares to commemorate International Garden Day on Sunday 21 October, Elisha Madzivadondo from Pinelands encourages the public to start their own backyard gardens.Madzivadondo started his own sprout garden years ago with the aim to supply vegans with healthy eat-out foods and promote a healthy lifestyle.He works closely with a local Garden Day organisation to raise awareness. He says it is important that the public is informed about Garden Day and is part of the celebration as it has many benefits.After hustling and jumping from one job to the next while running a small fresh vegetable business to make ends meet, Madzivadondo finally met a good Samaritan who offered him a space to run his restaurant in Sea Point. All meals comprise sprouts and other micro greens he produces from his garden at an eco-village in Pinelands.Madzivadondo says seeing people’s love for fresh, healthy food inspires him to do more, and he would like to encourage others to produce vegetables of their choice from their own backyards.He says one does not have to look far to get vegetables as they can be grown right where you are.“It is easy to own a garden. I have always known I wanted to work in the food industry but I did not have capital, I had to raise funds over the years. I identified a gap in the food industry and had satisfaction when my idea was validated by a medical doctor who then offered me a space to start up. I never looked back. Anyone can do it. I challenge everyone on Garden Day to take their first step and start a small garden.”Madzivadondo says back when he started his restaurant, there was a lack of restaurants and food shops for vegans.Renee Huxham of Garden Day says Madzivadondo is one of the local gardeners of whom they are most proud and she encourages the public to join them in celebrating the day. She says they are hosting pre-event programmes where the public will gain insight into gardening and making crowns from their own plants at their workshops. One of these workshops was held at the Neighbourhood Goods Market in Woodstock on Saturday 13 October and the next one will take place at Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay on Saturday 20 October.V For more information about Garden Day visit www.gardenday.co.za.