A motivated group of people from Alexandra in Gauteng has partnered with Shoprite on their journey to self-sustainability.
It took months of persuasion and years of dedication to turn a once destitute piece of land into a lush food garden. When the garden was first conceptualised in 2012, it was met with resistance from the Alexandra community who wanted houses built instead of the land being used to grow vegetables.
- Nellie Khunou from the Matsuvu Cooperative
But all this changed when spinach, cabbage, onion, beetroot, carrots, kale and tomato sprung up from the earth, says the 59-year-old.
- Nellie Khunou
Hard times pushed the group of twelve co-op members to approach Food and Trees for Africa with their plans of building a self-sustaining food garden that would help supplement their pensions and disability grants.
In February 2018 Shoprite came on board and supplied the co-op with garden tools, compost, a water tank and seedlings. The members also receive training, which has helped them increase their output to half a tonne of vegetables per month. The partnership with Shoprite saw them doubling their produce in just six months.
- Nellie Khunou
Since Shoprite got involved, there has been a dramatic change in the garden.
- Trevor Mluleke, Matsuvu Cooperative coordinator
The money the co-op makes from their efforts are reinvested into the garden. Members only keep a small portion of proceeds for themselves.
Trevor says that skills are successfully transferred when communities take ownership of their projects.
- Trevor Mluleke