Despite the crippling drought in the Eastern Cape, the Shoprite Group supports 82 homestead gardens in the province, benefiting 320 people. Enthusiastic community members are identified and provided with a “garden in a bucket” starter kit which contains seedlings, hand tools, organic fertilizer and a training manual. The individuals are also invited to attend monthly training workshops presented by the retailer.
According to Lunga Schoeman, Shoprite Group CSI Manager “Our food gardens are increasingly generating additional benefits for the broader communities in which they are based, we call it the multiplier effect,”.A major success story is that of Paulina Ntontela from Goshen Village, near Cathcart, where the retailer distributed 20 “garden in a bucket” starter kits during 2019.
Ntontela used her kit to start a nursery which has since blossomed into a flourishing small business. She now supplies fellow gardeners as well as Shoprite’s implementation partner, Food & Trees for Africa, with seedlings and herbs. “My herb garden is my pride and joy. Nothing makes me happier than working in it and now this garden not only feeds my family but also provides us with an extra income. I’m very grateful to Shoprite for creating this opportunity for me,” said Ntontela.
Another beneficiary was Fikiile Khiva, who is a project member of the Checkers-supported garden run by the Varhoyi and Mgodleni Co-op in Nkageni Park near King William’s Town, where 10 homes benefitted from “garden in a bucket” kits. “Having other gardens springing up around us was a great confidence booster for the co-op members. It showed us what we as a community are really capable of. The fact that we were doing it for ourselves drew the attention of government officials, which resulted in further support for the co-op’s garden,” he explained