A Misty Friday Morning
On a misty and exceptionally cold Friday morning (15th May), the Growing the Futures Project run by the Grootbos Foundation, entertained a visit from Laerskool Gansbaai. Farm Manager Johan Strydom invited the children including his daughters, as an initiative to better inform the young people in the Gansbaai community of the work the Grootbos Foundation carries out.
As part of the trip, the children were taught about the importance of healthy eating, growing produce responsibly and sustainably and the importance of community awareness. The Grootbos Foundation strives to serve the community in a sustainable way, targeting each and every member of society, no matter their colour, creed, occupation or socio-economic situation. The school visit proved to be a great success in raising awareness for the importance of health and sustainable futures at the Grootbos Foundation. Simultaneously the Growing the Futures farm visit reached out to a new audience – that of the community of Laerskool Gansbaai.
The Growing the Futures Farm
The striving for community knowledge and awareness was paralleled by Johan Strydom’s professional and educational hospitality. The farm itself has served as a training centre and means of providing opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn’t have been given the chance to be educated and let alone, employed. By offering an apprenticeship style of opportunity to students, the farm has seen a number of its employees come through its education system, and thus generate success from its core roots.
“The Growing the Futures project at the Grootbos Foundation has educated me to become a farmer, and now I produce honey for sale to the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve,” Asanda explained, a Growing the Future graduate who is now employed full time at the farm.
She continued, “I have even become an example for others in Masakhane – often they ask me how to grow vegetables and I always help them.”
The Growing the Futures project at the Grootbos Foundation sells water, honey and organic produce to the Private Nature Reserve Lodge. It is this micro, local economy provided through prospect and education where its true successes lie. With employees coming through the system, it provides sustainability through opportunity – having a refreshing and advantageous effect upon the greater community economy in the area.
As part of the visit, children and parents representing the Laerskool were taken on a tour of what the Growing the Futures project does. The Grootbos Foundation strives for community awareness, as well as support and this school trip exemplified the importance of raising awareness in the community. The children were shown how different soils serve different purposes, the importance of organised and efficient farming in terms of maximising a sustainable produce and the success stories accomplished by the staff at the farm.
An example to students and parents alike, the Grootbos Foundation and its initiatives are creating jobs, opportunities and educating a community. The idea that a farm in semi-rural Southern Africa is managed and worked by employees from diverse backgrounds is a success story in itself. The integration of work, socio-economic status and gender allow the farm to function at maximum efficiency. The idea that two women from disadvantaged communities are successfully managing key areas of the farm, is often an idea Africa is challenged with and struggles to face – the Growing the Futures project is not only an example to the community, but the broader African continent as well.
The Grootbos Foundation and its Growing the Futures project is doing exactly what it says on the tin, Growing Futures – and doing so in a sustainable, integrated and successful manner. Find out more at www.grootbosfoundation.org
Written and Edited by Matthew James Kirk, PR and Media Intern @GrootbosNGOZA (Twitter Username)