Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A garden can be more than just a place to grow things– as the Vlottenburg Community Organisation’s Wesbank garden shows.

The organisation partnered with Shoprite to establish a food garden to help empower youth in the area.

“Our beautiful garden is a positive attraction and is redirecting our youth’s focus. We use its beauty as a metaphor for their lives.”

Hilton Davids, founder of the Vlottenburg Community Organisation

The garden is located near Rainbow Primary and provides food to the school’s learners.

Crops grown in the garden include spinach, beetroot, leeks, lettuce, cabbage, and carrots; as well as a variety of herbs.

“We’re now feeding 250 children daily. That’s a huge improvement in just three years.”

Hilton Davids, founder of the Vlottenburg Community Organisation

“Our hard work has ensured where once there was nothing there is now a green garden that feeds and empowers people. The same can be said for the lives of our youth: they might feel as if they have nothing to offer but if they work hard they can create something beautiful from nothing.”

Hilton Davids, founder of the Vlottenburg Community Organisation

The garden also acts as a place where school learners can develop gardening skills. They are encouraged to work in the gardens to empower them with a sense of purpose and a positive way to spend their time. It is also hoped that they can use these skills to grow food gardens at their homes.

Shoprite partner Urban Harvest helped design the gardens to give it a unique aesthetic appeal – opting for concentric circles for plant locations rather than a grid style.

As such, the gardens are also a community space where people can spend their time and enjoy their surroundings.

Community volunteer and retired farm worker Gerald Bezuidenhout tends to the garden daily.

“Gardening gives me immense pleasure, but the greatest pleasure comes from the praise I get for our beautiful garden from community members.”

Gerald Bezuidenhout

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