In March 2019, we partnered with Woolworths, the Sustainability Institute and its AgroEcology Academy to launch the Living Soils Community Learning Farm.
Based at Spier, this learning and demonstration farm produces nutritious food using eco-friendly regenerative farming methods while empowering a new generation of farmers. The farm experiments and explores ways to scale farming operations and develop skills through experiential internships for young and emerging farmers in the Cape Winelands.
The Insider SA programme (SABC 3) recently featured this initiative as part of World Food Day (16 October). Watch this here:
Thandiwe Mtyingizani, Vuyolwethu Zicina and Phutuma Mgu were among the first (all female) interns to complete the programme and have taken on leadership positions to mentor the seven new interns that joined in 2020. Sindiswa Mdodana, one of the graduate interns, remained to join the first three as they took on leadership positions as junior farm managers and mentors to new interns in 2021.
Project manager Rirhandzu Marivate oversees the sterling efforts of the farm’s interns. “We have learnt a lot over the past three years, and I am extremely proud of the team’s growing confidence and leadership,” says Marivate. With additional support provided by Spier farm manager Orlando Filander, Sustainability Institute’s permaculturist Yoliswa Mahobe and Woolworths Farming for the Future expert Kobus Pienaar, they are receiving the best possible support.
Since the start of lockdown (March 2020), the Living Soils Community Learning farm has donated more than 4000kg of fresh vegetables as food relief to households in Vlottenburg and the Lynedoch Valley. In addition, the Sustainability Institute’s school feeding programme uses the farm’s fresh produce to provide daily meals to ±200 food-insecure children from the Lynedoch Valley.