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”

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.

A young farmer and her family

Babalwa Mankayi’s way into farming was sparked by a key moment at her home in Khayelitsha: One day she put some old sprouting potatoes into the soil outside her home. After a few months she was more than surprised that new potatoes had been growing at this very place without any effort on her part.

In 2015, Babalwa attended the Abalimi Young Farmers Training Centre Apprenticeship at SCAGA (Siyazama Community Allotment Garden Association) in Khayelitsha. While studying at SCAGA, Babalwa was able to obtain her own garden beds at a large community garden very close to her home in Khayelitsha.

After only 1,5 years of being involved with Abalimi, the mother of three is a successful farmer of Harvest of Hope. Also her husband Gerald found a job as a driver, delivering vegetable bags for Harvest of Hope. Additionally she has been selected as our newest and youngest fieldworkers Of course she will still carry on growing and selling vegetables as well.

Meals at home have changed as now she is able to cook with vegetables that she couldn’t afford before, such as broccoli or cauliflower. “Farming is an essential skill to learn“ she says. “Home grown vegetables are healthier than the ones that come from the supermarket.”