Small Scale Farming is a Critical Tool in Food Security – Here’s How Shoprite is Supporting it in the Free State

Food gardens and small-scale farms have seen a marked resurgence in recent years. As many as 2.2 million South African households have some form of garden or farm adjacent to their homes. This movement is key to providing food security, which is why the Shoprite Group supports several such initiatives in the Free State and elsewhere in the country.

MmaKomape Home Gardening, in Parys, was born in 2019 and project coordinator Nelly Komape says the food garden has made a dramatic difference to the local community.

The organic produce – which includes spinach, onions, chillies, tomatoes, pumpkin, mealies, cabbage, carrots, ochre and beetroot – provides a lifeline for disadvantaged community members and children at a local creche. Nelly is now also selling excess produce to reinvest in her garden and further support families in the area.

“We’ve gained so much through Shoprite, including training workshops on permaculture, garden design and pest and weed control. We are now even making our own compost which will be ready for use later this year, and we know more about raising beds and even understand how intercropping works” said Nelly Komape, project coordinator at MmaKomape Home Gardening.

Mookho Pitso, who established the Hola Le Rona Integrated Educare Centre food garden in Phuthaditjhaba in 2001, has achieved equally impressive goals for her community. The garden, which has been supported by Shoprite since February 2020, helps to supplement the feeding scheme at the day-care centre, ensuring two wholesome, daily meals to more than 150 children.

“The seedlings, fruit trees, tools and training received from Shoprite have helped us a lot. We’re now able to grow even more vegetables than before and the surplus produce, which is not used in the children’s meals, can be sold to the community” said Mookho Pitso, Hola Le Rona Integrated Educare Centre.

Shoprite also partnered with Epilepsy SA’s Free State and North West branch, who started an organic food garden in September 2019. They now grow a wide variety of vegetables, including brinjals, tomatoes, cabbage and butternut which is used in the meals served at the residential care centre.

“Now that we’ve started harvesting and the vegetables make it on to the table, our gardeners are even more enthusiastic. They have a real sense of accomplishment, knowing that they can explain the process from seedling to harvesting to fellow residents” said Keri Steyn, project coordinator – Epilepsy SA.