Abalimi Bezekhaya (“Farmers of the Home”) is a non-profit development organisation based primarily in township communities like Nyanga and Khayelitsha. Residents in these townships are encouraged and supported to grow their own organic vegetables to feed their families. Vegetables are now grown in hundreds of gardens in the townships, sustaining thousands of individuals and families. Some of the micro-farmers are now producing more than enough to feed their families,and after giving to needy neighbours and selling ‘over the fence’. However, there is little or no access to markets outside the immediate neighbourhood to sell the high quality organically grown produce.
The Harvest of Hope Marketing Project -
- a “Community Supported Agriculture” Scheme
Abalimi’s Harvest of Hopemarketing project provides a much-needed outlet for excessproduce by selling this produce on behalf of the farmers in the form of a weekly organic box scheme. Harvest of Hope contracts with the farmers in advance – guaranteeing to purchase their produce and thus giving them some income security. Members of Harvest of Hope sign up for the box scheme and pay for their weekly delivery of vegetables in advance. Thus Harvest of Hope is a Community Supported Agriculture scheme (CSA) that facilitates the commitment between the micro-farmers and the consumers/members. Our objective is to foster growing connections between the farmers and members, and we encourage members to get involved by volunteering or simply coming to visit some of the farms and meet the inspiring micro-farmers. Regular Tuesday morning tours are offered which is a great way to see the farming in action as well as to observe the Tuesday pack-shed activities.
Who are the micro-farmers?
The community-garden micro-farming groups are typically made up of 3 to 8 farmers. Most of the growers are women – pillars of strength in their families and neighbourhoods. But more and more men are getting involved as they see the opportunities for making a decent, dignified and sustainable living out of peri-urban farming. Typically the farm plots are the size of a few classrooms and are often located on pieces of land at schools in the townships or on council land. Take a virtual tour of some of these micro-farms. In order to supply their vegetables to the Harvest of Hope box scheme, the micro-farmers need to have acheived high levels of quality and need to be farming according to strict organic principles. Training and support from Abalimi is helping to bring more and more eligible micro-farmers into the Harvest of Hope supply chain.
Who are the consumers/members?
Harvest of Hope started at the beginning of 2008 with box orders of 80/week. By the end of 2010 we had members for 250 boxes per week, and we are now working up in stages to get to an ambituous 600 boxes by the end of 2011. Many of our existing members are parents who pick up their vegetables each Tuesday when they collect their children at various schools in the southern suburbs – but we are also expanding our deliveries to businesses and institutions (see collection points). There is growing interest, and more and more people are subscribing to this socially and environmentally responsible way of obtaining healthy vegetables. The more boxes ordered on a regular basis, the more square meters can be planted and the more money is earned by people who are among the poorest in this country. Any profits that Harvest of Hope generates will go straight back to the development and support of the farmers via Abalimi, thus feeding the supply chain for ongoing growth.
Cost of the boxes:
A full box, which includes 9 -12 seasonal organic vegetables, sufficient to feed a medium family, costs R105 per week and a small box for two people (6 – 7 vegetables) costs R72. This can be paid quarterly or monthly. Debit orders are usually the easiest.
How does it work?
New members fill in a simple sign-up form, in which they select their box size and preferred collection point. Once the new member has recived their first invoice and made the payment (including a once-off deposit for their HoH box), they will be added to the member list and start receiving a weekly box. HoH delivers the medium and small boxes of vegetables (picked, packed and delivered on the same day) to selected schools and other outlets around Cape Town every Tuesday (with a break over the December holidays). Each week members return their box and collect their new box of fresh veggies.
Why choose Harvest of Hope ?
Cape Town has a number of excellent organic box schemes for you to choose from – each with their own unique offering. A key aspect of the HoH scheme is that by becoming a member you are supporting a growing community of township micro-farmers to have dignified, sustainable livelihoods. The HoH marketing project is first and foremost a social enterprise. Abalimi, its parent, is the driver of an urban farming movement that has poverty relief and sustainable, responsible consumerism at its heart. You will experience that the quality of the produce is very high, and probably the freshest you can access in Cape Town – as it is picked and delivered on the same day.
Go to ‘Join us’ and find information on the Friends of Abalimi Tour.
For more information on Abalimi Bezekhaya, click here.