Home gardeners did their bit for Mandela Day and learnt a new skill at the same time.
On Tuesday last week, a group of home gardeners and volunteers spent the day at the Beacon Organic Garden in Westridge, learning to make compost from scraps and things you can find around the house.
The home gardeners are part of Soil for Life, a non-profit organisation that teaches people how to grow healthy, organic food using simple, low-cost and environmentally-friendly methods.
The organisation has been helping garden founder Magda Campbell grow the project. Campbell started the garden in 2014 as a means to give back to the community.
“I did my practical here at the time while I was studying at Boland College and that is when I was introduced to the learners of this school,” she says.
Campbell says the children are often without jobs after they leave school. In a bid to change that, she started teaching the learners of senior classes how to work in the garden.
“I asked the principal if I could just come and volunteer at the school after I completed my practical and teach the children how to work in a garden,” she says.
The popularity of the classes quickly grew and since the beginning of this year, Campbell is teaching all the school’s learners.
Campbell has seen such success with the learners that she has been able to offer jobs for former learners who showed interest in gardening and help her permanently.
“I approached Soil for Life to assist me with the training so that the children could have something credible to put on their CV,” says Campbell.
“This has now become the agri hub for Soil for Life.”
Campbell hopes to be an example for others, saying that gardening can be used to solve hunger and make a change in Mitchell’s Plain.
“There is so much vacant land all around at schools and parks. We can approach the relevant people and if all the home gardeners come together, we can start our own organic market here in Mitchell’s Plain,” says Campbell.
Sandi Lewis, Soil for Life trainer for Mitchell’s Plain, says they will start a new round of training in September. The three-month training costs R15 per person, includes seedlings and is open to anyone from Portlands and Westridge.