One adage I’ve always loved in life is ‘beautiful things grow from dirt.’ It speaks to our remarkable ability as humans to make a good thing out of a bad thing. This is why one story of two local women who turned a rubbish dump into a vegetable garden, gave me all the Springtime renewal feelings. There’s always the opportunity to make something positive out of a stale situation. It’s a fact of life that these two ladies can attest to.
Covid took a lot away from a lot of people, but the lockdown also came with its special moments. Moments of reflection, reevaluation, contemplation and new beginnings. This was the case for two Salvokop women, Lufuno Doyoyo and Sinah Mudau, living just outside of Pretoria. The pair had grown tired of ‘sitting around not doing anything’, during covid times.
The two women, with great initiative, approached the local councillor with an idea to convert a vacant, littered slot of municipal land into a vegetable garden, selling the fresh spinach and mutshaina (African Spinach) to community members. After receiving approval, the pair set out on sewing their seeds to new beginnings.
With help from Doyoyo’s brother, the group tilled the land, removing heaps of rubbish. The collective spirit of the team must have really shone through, as not long after, a group of local men decided to lend their helping hands.
“They got inspired to help clean up,” Doyoyo said talking with Good Things Guy.
As always though. There will be those who fall back on old habits. Some locals continued to throw rubbish in the patch but were cautioned not to by other members of the community. Later the veggie-patch team managed to put a small fence up front, deterring litterbugs from the neatly kept beddings. Water for the garden is in no short supply, connected straight from the street’s underground pipe.
Now, the women employ an assistant, Eugene Govi, who keeps to the garden while the two women are busy with their own work. Sinah runs a food business right next to the community garden, where she incorporates spinach as one of her ingredients. The pair have bigger plans for the future, with a mission to clear the land completely and put fences up all around. They’d like to grow an array of other veggies alongside their flourishing spinach patch.
Currently, the pair are bringing in an extra R200 a week, from selling their fresh spinach and mutshaina. Still, the women pour their passion into the project, with money for Govi’s salary and the seedlings coming from their personal savings.
Doyoyo adds that they would like to upskill themselves even further and learn more about farming, with plans to apply for support through the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development’s Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme. The end goal is to start supplying surrounding areas of the community with freshly grown veg, and to boost local job creation in Salvokop.
Feature Image:Ezekiel Kekana