Early this year, fourteen community members at Thembabantu farm joined our organic farming programme, with hopes of earning a stable income that will enable them to support their families. It is often word of mouth that draws these farmers to us, as Mrs Mbili explains, “We have seen what Thanda has done for the other farmers in the area and we approached Thanda to come and help us.”
March 2016 July 2016
Thembabantu is now one of the highest performing out of our small-scale farms – quite a feat considering they haven’t been farming for a full year yet! In their third quarter, the farmers sold R20,454 of produce to their community, local schools, spaza shops and to us. Their Farm Mentor, Mdex, says that the Thembabantu farmers display empathy, self-esteem, loyalty, trust and a true spirit of Ubuntu.
One of the farmers, Mrs Mbili, was farming at home to provide food for her family but wanted to scale-up so she could show youth in her community that they can create their own jobs. Now, she is able to save money on traveling to the shops to buy groceries and has learnt how to farm organically and seasonally. She says that Thanda has “provided a market that motivates (her) to keep pushing for more.”
Most of our farmers are females and understand the influential role they play within their community. Over the last couple generations, farming lost its appeal amongst youth but our farmers are making it cool again. Another one of our farmers, Mrs Doncabe, said, “Children used to say we were wasting our time. Now they help us and know where their food comes from. I am showing them that they can earn a living through farming.”
And earning money, they are! Within the third quarter, our 172 farmers produced R140,000 of vegetables and sold R102,551 of that produce.
With the help of our farmers, we hope to encourage more youth to learn about organic farming, both to provide them with the skills to establish livelihoods and also to educate them on the importance of nutrition.