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Growing livelihoods from a former dump site

A group of staff volunteers from The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Quivertree Publications and Food & Trees converged at the Lenin St Market Garden in Alexandra. The City of Joburg (Social Development) and 105 Ward Councillor have supported this initiative since April, along with Urban Fresh. Together the group paid tribute to the incredible work accomplished on the ground by a group of committed women who farm in this urban setting.

It is difficult to believe that the fields of lush veggies, fertile soil and abundant fruit trees are flourishing in what was once a dumping site. Expansions included an onsite cold room, tool shed and the small roadside shop which displays and sells veggie produce, freshly picked along with pickles and herbs.

The project members are made up, in the majority, by women who constitute 7 co-ops who are creating a livelihood for themselves.Their passion is evident in the seriousness with which they speak about their project. They are fiercely proud and rightly so. Garnering R500 per day on average, the market garden has filled a niche within the Alex community.

The permaculture training will instil a valuable set of skills which will ensure healthy happy soil and a continued, sustainable project. Violet, Sina and the others, chuckle as they say 'We are not gogos anymore, we are farmers'.

Proceeds of sales of the Great South African Cookbook will see this garden, the first of ten beneficiaries, to receive additional training, seedlings, compost and mentoring.
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