A community’s quest to achieving sustainable development through regenerative agriculture.

“Achieving food security is a major priority in our village and through initiatives such as the greenhouse project, we are well on our way to achieving that goal.” These are the words of Mr Ngwako, one of the young men heading up the greenhouse project that was launched in Mohlanhle village in Polokwane on Saturday 27 March 2021.

“Not only is food security a priority, but we want to make sure that we produce organic vegetables that cater to the nutritional needs of our community members, especially young children,” says Ngwako.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the food security crisis that has led to immeasurable suffering, not only for rural communities in Polokwane, but globally. So how is a small village like Mohlanhle planning to eradicate hunger and grow the local economy?

Kgoshi (Chief) Mamabolo’s vision is to address unemployment amongst the youth in his village by inviting agri specialists to train and capacitate groups of young people to start planting crops that can be sold to community members and nearby supermarkets. “I had very little knowledge about agriculture and planting food gardens at the beginning of this process, but I was determined to learn as much as I could so I can sell this vision to my community, get my hands dirty (literally) and be hands-on throughout the implementation process that was led and facilitated by Ryan Marsden from Ranyaka,” explains Kgoshi.

“Now that we have gone through the training and mastered the different techniques of growing the crop, such as the hydroponic and dripping systems, we are confident that we will be ready to implement the same food garden model in other schools in and around the village,” he says.

Crops planted in the food garden include tomatoes, two types of spinach, lettuce and green peppers.

Also present at the launch was Mankweng Circuit Manager from the Department of Education, Ms Masegela, who hailed the event a success and encouraged learners at the school to learn more about growing a food garden, develop a relationship with food grown from the ground and discover for themselves the nutritional benefits of vegetables so that they can teach their family and friends at home. “We want to introduce agriculture in our curriculum very shortly because it’s essential to economic and sustainable development in our communities,” she says.

Mohlanhle Primary School principal, Ms Mamabolo, thanked all who worked tirelessly to make this project a reality. “I would like to thank Kgosi for continuously working to improve our community and Ranyaka and Nedbank for stepping in and introducing such projects in our village and the work they are doing to educate and change lives,” she says.

The greenhouse project is a collaborative initiative between Kgoshi Mamabolo, Ranyaka, and Nedbank’s Proud of my Town programme.