SCAGA 3 – Eden
“For us it is important to grow our vegetables organic, without pesticides but rather focusing on good soil management and companion planting. We always explain to the community why this is better for their health, even if it costs more.”
Eden garden was initially established in 1998 and is the third garden in a row of five community gardens known as the Siyazama Community Allotment Garden Association (SCAGA) gardens. These gardens are located across the street from the Sizimisele Tech High School in Khayelitsha in an Eskom servitude and often referred to as “the powerline project”.
The SCAGA line became the first community garden project set up with the help of Abalimi. The whole space of the SCAGA line, situated under a high voltage cable, was once used for dumping all kinds of garbage. When the gardens were first started, the soil had to be cleaned. “Sometimes when we’re digging the soil, we’ll still find bottles or tin cans” says Zodidi Alakhe Langa, one of the four current members who work at Eden garden. She began working here in 2007 after she received training through Abalimi’s basic training course.
Eden is known for and prides itself on producing vegetables of exceptional quality. They even won first prize for quality produce in the 2019 Abalimi Farmers’ Competition.
Every garden does however have its challenges. Eden has to share a borehole with the neighbouring SCAGA 2 and due to the water shortage, they also have to use municipal water. Alakhe’s schedule begins with arriving to Eden at 6 o’clock in the morning to fill up the watering cans and water all her veggies. After that she is off to work, then back to the garden afterwards. Her husband also helps her care for their 26 plots and 678m². Sometimes they even hire some help.
The farmers’ biggest wish for the future is to gain more space for their garden, but the question is: where? They are also striving towards more independence by selling their produce directly to the clients and not being dependant on a middle man. Alakhe is already working towards this goal as she has started to sell her vegetables directly to the clients herself.
The main challenge for this next step is transportation and delivery of the produce, as most of the clients are located in the city or the surrounding suburbs. “They love to buy our veggies, but they want us to bring them there” says Alakhe. She is in the process of developing her own project to help provide market access to the farmers in the townships. She talks with passion and hope for this new project, which is called iGugu Labafazi (Women’s Pride).
The Eden farmers are also very passionate about the importance of growing vegetables organically. They mention how they often have to explain theprocess and the benefits of eating organically to the community who are sometimes confused about the higher prices they have to pay for Eden’s veggies. The farmers want to encourage more people to plant their own produce and enjoy the benefits that come with it, such as independence and healthier, more nutrient-dense produce. When planting organically and not using treatment and sprays, the produce will be of higher quality than found at most stores. Even though they are not using any chemical treatments, the group of four are not afraid of pests as they know methods to treat and prevent them such as companion planting.
Zodidi Alakhe talks about not doing much before she started farming. Now, she looks out across her garden full of crops saying “I love this life”. Like many of her fellow gardeners, her parents were farmers in the Eastern Cape. Her father has been farming since she was born, and he is still farming today. She has a strong connection with this work because of him.
“I love farming; it’s in my veins, it’s in my blood” Alakhe says.
- Simon Mali
- Kholiswa Sesiman
- Zodidi Alakhe Langa (and husband)
- Alfred Godla
Zodidio Alakhe Langa
Mobile / Whats App: 074 743 2765
Check out the map for the garden’s location: