Training Gardens

In its history as an organisation, FBFA has experimented with a number of garden models. In doing so, we have found that success depends on the sense of ownership that an individual participant-farmer has in the garden. We have thus moved from Community and Project Garden models to the Training Garden model:

COMMUNITY GARDENS: These constitute gardens for which a large group or community is responsible. The work is theoretically shared amongst many as are the benefits. Our experience of this model, however, finds it idealistic and ineffective. Despite theoretical responsibility, Community Gardens are usually driven by a single leader; when he/she is thus absent, the garden is abandoned. In addition, internal politics and divisions make the Community Garden model a challenge.

PROJECT GARDENS: These are gardens established in institutions, such as schools, crèches, retirement homes etc. They are usually overseen by a teacher, a parent or a caretaker often on a voluntary basis. Having attempted this model, we found such voluntary ‘overseers’ to be poorly invested in the garden’s well-being and, subsequently, many of our Project Gardens withered.

Having attempted the above garden models, in 2012 we decided to adopt a modified approach which we refer to as ‘Training Gardens’.

TRAINING GARDENS: These are gardens situated within the communities we desire to impact, but unlike Community Gardens, there is at least one community member who has an especially vested interest in its success. Most often, they have some form of ownership over the property or personal responsibility for it and have usually attempted to start a garden prior to FBFA’s involvement. Such individuals are more likely to work at sustaining the garden.

Having identified such individuals, we then ‘adopt’ their gardens and provide them with training and mentorship. When their gardens are functioning successfully, we bring in other interested community members and potential gardeners to train in the garden.

It takes approximately 18 months to establish a Training Garden and have it offering training to the community at large. It is hoped that those trained in a Training Garden will then establish their own Training Garden and thus replicate the methodology.

SUSTAINABILITY OF TRAINING GARDENS:

veg

In land size these gardens will probably never produce or sell enough vegetables to be fully sustaining. Though we will be looking at stock that will yield high incomes, such as mushrooms, and herbal plants, with some gardens having chickens and possibly tilapia (fish).

training manual

Another source of income is through the training that a Training Garden offers to community members which goes directly to the garden itself. Trainees will pay a small amount for their training, but will also be able to pay through barter with the farmer of the garden e.g. few hours given to garden for weeding, brining composting material such as cardboard, and garden cuttings (in order to make compost piles).

BEE

Thirdly, it is possible for small companies to “adopt a garden” by donated funds for which they earn BEE points.

OUR GARDENS:

Great Commission, 26 Mzwandile Road, Khayelitsha.

Great Commission, 26 Mzwandile Road,
Khayelitsha.

Oude Molen Food Garden Village for Children, Alexander Road, Ndabeni.

Oude Molen Food Garden Village for Children, Alexander Road, Ndabeni.

Riebeeck Valley Special School, Ark Street, Riebeeck West.

Riebeeck Valley Special School, Ark Street,
Riebeeck West.

 

Manenberg Community Centre, and Manenberg Peoples Centre, Manenberg.

Manenberg Community Centre, and Manenberg Peoples Centre, Manenberg.

53 Mill Street, McGregor.

53 Mill Street, McGregor.

Parish of All Saints, Dwars Street, Hopefield.

Parish of All Saints, Dwars Street, Hopefield.

Darling Focus, Cole Street, Darling.

Darling Focus, Cole Street, Darling.

Chwayita Food Garden, 32 366 Khuphela Street, Khayelitsha.

Chwayita Food Garden, 32 366 Khuphela
Street, Khayelitsha.

Welgevallen Experimental Farm, Stellenbosch University (Research Centre), Suid-Wal Street, Stellenbosch.

Welgevallen Experimental Farm, Stellenbosch University (Research Centre), Suid-Wal Street, Stellenbosch.