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Garden inspires girls

A Bloekombos man is helping young women in the community to earn an income through growing fresh produce in a smart garden project.

Thabiso Gunya started the Hydroponic Rooftop Garden project last year with the aim of creating employment for the youth, with focussing more on young women.

“With this project, we promote job creation, entrepreneurship and local food production. The youth are enabled to develop entrepreneurial skills so that they stand a chance of making a decent living despite their lack of formal training,” he says.

The Hydroponic Rooftop Garden is made up of recycled car and truck tires with metal roofing slightly covered with a shade cloth raised above.

“Our garden also recycles about 90% of the water it uses. Generally, a one square meter plot can yield between two and seven kilograms of spinach per harvest.

“The price if spinach averages between R25 and R35 per kilogram which can bring a tidy profit to the farmers,” he explains.

The farmers are mentored by senior female farmers who are said to have acquired the knowledge for farming while growing up in the villages.

With the Covid-19 lockdown period having resulted in many people losing their jobs, more people formed part of those involved in the garden and the need for a bigger space arose.

The group managed to secure land to keep the project running from a local church.

With the growing interest from the youth, the garden is run with limited equipment.

“Currently, our greatest challenge is finding ways to work with the limited resources we have. Our general equipment is not sufficient, and we are also running out of tyres and have no water tanks. 

“We would also like to receive some guidance from more knowledgeable people so that the project can grow bigger, possibly spreading out to more communities.”

Gunya says the farmers rely on the garden.“We sell most of our produce and the proceeds are shared equally among everyone.”

He says it is important that the garden continues because of the health benefits the organic food provides.

  • For more information email mthimkhulu099@gmail.com.

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