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Planting the seeds of success

The goodwill and help of volunteers on Mandela Day got the Franklin Ohana Sustainability Garden off to a good start.

Volunteers visited the garden situated behind the Overstrand Care Centre (Hospice) in Church Street, Hawston on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 July to help dig, plant and water the vegetable garden started by Melun Jeptha earlier this year.

Generous donations of a tank by the Jojo Tank Worcester branch and from Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines who contributed 67 trays of seedlings and large wooden crates, to plant more vegetables, as well as packets of seeds got the project off to a good start.

Martin and Ann Wright joined forces with Jeptha to host the Mandela Day project, inviting members of the public to volunteer their services or donate materials needed to make a success of the project.

Over two days the garden was abuzz with enthusiastic role-players and volunteers, who helped plant winter seedlings, clean and weed a new section in the garden and also to exchange ideas.

Says Jeptha: “To me this day echoed the thought provoking expression of Tata Madiba’s, ‘When people are determined they can overcome anything!’ We could make a greater impact and do so much more when we do it together! Meer hande maak ligter werk!

In May, after receiving permission from Reverend Franklin Davids, Rector of the St Andrew’s Anglican church, not only to use the space behind the Overstrand Care Centre, but also an adjoining piece of land behind his church, Jeptha set to work with the help of volunteers from the community to clear the overgrown piece of land and prepare it for planting.

The mission and vision of the Hawston resident, who owns Ohana Environmental Consultants and Projects, is to create green productive spaces that strengthen food security within the community, to advance skills training and to create work opportunities.

She added: “Our greater vision is to have a farmers market inside one of the community food gardens, where locals and the public can come to purchase there fresh supply of vegetables.”

The environmental consultant also hopes to provide a learning platform. “Our secondary objective is to educate the community about the importance of keeping the environment litter-free,” she says, “and to clean up the area around the garden which is currently being used as an illegal dumping site.”

The Franklin Ohana Sustainability Garden will be divided into various phases due to the nature and complexity of the project.

The next step, says Jeptha, is to improve security at the garden by repairing boundary walls and to install an irrigation system.

“LoveAbility Garden on the adjoining property has granted us the use of the tunnel for seedlings,” Jeptha added.

“We have created an opening in the wall between the two gardens and will install a gate soon. Our greatest desire is to grow a legacy that enables future generations to continue building on current efforts towards sustainable and productive food gardens with a vibrant farmers market and functional green spaces.

“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all role players and volun-teers who assisted the garden thus far.”

To learn more about this gardening project people can visit the Franklin Ohana Sustainability Garden Facebook page or Japhtha on melun@ohanaenviro.co.za or 067 425 3279.

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