Spring has sprung

During the winter we tend to focus on training around nutrition and business development (Agriplanner), but with spring around the corner we have started with out basic courses again.

Abalimi provides basic training in urban agriculture which is a three-day course. This includes both theory and practical training for starting a home food garden in a very practical way. Participants also get a training manual (English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa) and a certificate of completion. They also get a start-up kit to start their own home food garden with seeds, seedlings and manure.

Basic training is done every two weeks at the Nyanga and Khayelitsha Garden Centres.

Agriplanner training – basics around running your garden as a business

Basic urban garden training – how to start your home food garden

Reflecting on 40 years

During 2022 we took time to celebrate 40 years of township farming and it was an amazing, busy, productive, informative and festive year.  Herewith some of the highlights.

In Spring we hosted “Open Gardens” and many visitors came to meet the farmers and see the gardens.  Home and community gardens were invited to join the showcase, bearing in mind that every garden is a miracle in our extreme conditions!!  

Photo: Jeromine Derigny, Raporterre

We are so proud of our farmers! They already feed tens of thousands all year round and could feed many more!  Organically and sustainably, despite the harsh environmental conditions. 

TAKE ACTION: Come visit.  Pass on the message.  Sponsor an award.  Just R100 supports one home garden all year round!

Many ask: “how can so much be done with so little?”  Our answer: “by intervening at exact pressure points to spark a chain re-action and multiplier effect”   Nobody needs to be hungry or poor if they can garden!

Contact us for more information about visiting the open gardens, via info@abalimi.org.za or via WA on +27 64 7318 235 or on +27 21 371 1653.

Wild Foods Cook-up with Chefs and Farmers   

The concept: Eight chefs teamed up with eight farmers from various community food gardens to cook up a plant based and wild food meal.  The invited guests could either cook along, capture the activities or simply sit down to enjoy the meal.  

Immediate purpose: Linked chefs with farmers for a cook-up to draw attention to township based micro-farmers cultivating organically produced conventional & local indigenous crops and wild edible weeds around Cape Town. To showcase to growers the creative ideas that chefs come up with using lesser known produce or “weeds” and the value these have.

Longer term goal: To promote better links between customers and Abalimi farmers via the Philippi Agrihub to regain pre-COVID levels of production and sales.  Opportunity to connect with key stakeholders who can support Abalimi and partner with PEDI Agrihub.

Thanks to Loubie Rusch from Making Kos for all her support, Ladles of Love for flying Mokgadi Itsweng to Cape Town, and PEDI for sourcing the veggies from the farmers and for all the media exposure that we received! 

Farmer Festival & Agri-Expo

Our farmer festival held in April 2022 was an opportunity for micro-farmers to learn and engage around urban farming.  We hosted over 1200 visitors, with 23 exhibitions and 5 master classes.   The event was driving by the local community, supporting 10 local businesses and 14 community based vendors.  The event created 52 local jobs while 36 local taxis were hired to bring visitors to the event. 

Many thanks to all the kind donors who helped this event to be a great success!

Asande Food Garden

Sibongile says “I grew up doing gardening at home, although we mostly just grew maize, pumpkins and beans.  Coming to Cape Town we started with organic farming where we planted many different vegetables.  I love to do this because it helps us to have healthy food on the table and income in our pockets.”

Sibongile Sityebi is a farmer at heart who works the soil at Asande Food Garden.  This project was started tarted in 2008 by Gethrude Cuba from Gugulethu, Gugulethu, but when she moved to Joburg in 2009 the project was taken over by Sibongile.  Vuyokazi joined him 2011, while Buyelwa joined at the start of 2018. Continue reading “Asande Food Garden”

We are moving

We are excited to be moving to a new and larger premises as from 1 September 2018.  This brings new opportunities, although our move away from Philippi Village was done with a heavy heart.  Our new offices will include additional office space and a larger pack shed, just a stone’s through from where we were in Philippi.

At the same time we are also upgrading our garden centres and demonstration gardens that will remain our key contact points in the community.

Our new address is 1 Boston Circle, Airport Industria North.
Click here for a link to a map.  Our telephone number has not changed.

Mandela Day 2018

Thanks for joining us for Mandela Day, taking action against poverty

Many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers who came to  join the Abalimi team in planting wind breaks at the Khanyisa Community Garden in Khayelitsha.

We planted around 200 indigenous shrubs and trees, adding quite a bit of manure to the sand soil.  Some people helped with preparing beds, planting seedlings, mulching and weeding.

Special thanks goes to our sponsors who helped make this happen, including Burgan Cape Terminals (BTU), Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), the Sustainability Institute, Treepreneurs, Ross Campbell and Uthando with kind support from New Frontiers and the Noakes Foundation. Continue reading “Mandela Day 2018”

Seed to Table

Seed to Table is a book of organic, seasonal recipes. Proceeds help fund urban micro-farmers in Cape Town, South Africa.

Seed to Table is the cookbook that grew out of a relationship between three farmers of Abalimi Bezekhaya — Nomzamo Gertrude Cuba, Vatiswa Dunjana and Nomkhita Gertrude Sotsonga — and three Rotary International Exchange Students — Erin Koepke, Abby Elsener and Toni Marraccini.

When Erin, Abby and Toni set out to collect recipes for Abalimi Bezekhaya, their goal was to ensure their organic micro-farms could continue to plant the seeds of hope in Cape Town, South Africa. With every passing season, though, their mission to document food as both sustenance and celebration brought more people to the table, each with a recipe to cook and a lesson to share.
Seed to Table is the story of powerful bonds that were created when people came together to redefine the tradition of harvest.

Doing spiritual work through organic farming of indigenous herbs

Whoever has already set foot on the premises of Philippi Village, where Abalimi has its HQ , has likely gotten in touch with Babalo, a young entrepreneur who grew up in the Eastern Cape on his grandfather ́s 16 hectare farm.

Babalo noticed that Imphepho was growing wild everywhere on the farm. Imphepho is a traditionally important indigenous herb, perhaps best known as a ritual incense used during healing ceremonies. Convinced by the good quality of the Imphepho and with a small start-up donation from the Farm & Garden Trust, he decided to harvest it sustainably and bring it back to Cape Town, earlier this year, for selling to the community.

Imphepho has many uses – as an antiseptic, insecticide, anti-inflammatory and for pain relief. The parts of the plant used are mainly the leaves, stems and flowers and sometimes the roots. New born babies are washed in Imphepho to cleanse and protect them. The herb is stuffed in bedding for both humans and animals to repel insects. The plants are usually wild harvested and plated in garlands or tied in bundles before drying. Babalo managed to get dozens of 40 kg bags full of Imphepho via Bus from the Eastern Cape to Cape Town as his start-up stock.

Babalos spiritual mission is to”strengthen the souls of people, who have been lost in the city, by reconnecting them to the land, sustaining African cultural heritage and any kind of good business.” while also supporting himself and his wife and two children. He is also starting a charcoal from wild Acacia tree business. Currently he is sustainably harvesting huge forests on his family farm in the Eastern Cape.

The Black Sheep – Mastering the art of quirky vegetables

The Black Sheep restaurant is just like any other Harvest of Hope customer, except their weekly veg box is gigantic. It’s been almost a year since the family-run local eatery began their partnership with Abalimi Bezekhaya. South African born Chef Japha reveres the opportunity to use seasonal ingredients outside his normal repertoire. His eccentric offerings include deep fried kale, aubergine atchar, kohlrabi kimchi, and an unbeatable turnip and basil combination he credits to his father.

“It’s a conscious effort to make very unusual and interesting things,” he said.

Chef Japha, whose 25 years of experience spans Michelin star restaurants and high-end gastropubs, seeks out smart combinations.  For him that also means locally sourcing ingredients. Japhas philosophy is simple; if it’s imported, he doesn’t buy it. Beyond limiting the restaurant’s carbon footprint, nearby food, he says, “simply tastes better.” Japha heard about Harvest of Hope from indigenous plant expert and Abalimi Friend Loubie Rusch.

“I love the fact that I get to cut out the middle man,” he noted. “And what I get
for doing that is a better product, that is way fresher.”

Black Sheep’s entire kitchen staff hail from Khayelitsha, same as many of the farmers from whom they buy their vegetables. Not one attended culinary school, like many of their counterparts at comparable upscale eateries. Their learning-by-doing spirit mirrors that of Abalimi’s farmers, who are constantly mastering new techniques for optimal harvests.

You can find The Black Sheep Restaurant at 104 Kloof Street; it’s open Mondays from 18:30, and Tuesdays to Saturdays for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended, the earlier the better.