Farm stall bursting with fresh produce

Shop assistant Stan Ndaba.

A variety of organically grown fresh produce is available to Kommetjie residents.

The Kommetjie Primary School Neighbourhood Market is rooted at the entrance to the school and opened its doors to the community on Wednesday August 8.

The market is the first of its kind and the brainchild of Justin Bonello, founder of Neighbourhood Farm.

Neighbourhood Farm is a non-profit that grows food in an urban setting to improve nutrition in schools and communities, while creating public awareness about environmentally sustainable farming.

So far 17 South Peninsula schools are part of the initiative where children are taught about the importance of food safety and growing fresh produce.

Crops are harvested from the Kommetjie Primary School garden and there will be a wider selection of produce next month when harvesting starts at the new farm at False Bay Hospital.

“We treat the individual farms as one big farm, and create crop diversity across the various sites,” Mr Bonello said.

The market sells spring onions, leeks, beetroot, turnips, kale, radishes, celery, herbs, spinach, leafy greens, rocket, carrots and more.

The best advertisement for the market, Mr Bonello said, had been word of mouth in the community after people saw Neighbourhood Farm turn uncultivated land into crops.

“The carbon footprint and wastage is minimal and produce harvested when it’s ripe versus suiting a traditional retail supply chain means that community members get to buy food that packs a nutrient punch,” he
said.

Neighbourhood Farm plans to open another two markets in coming months, one at False Bay Hospital and the other at Laerskool Paul Greyling.

“We’ve been cautious about opening too many shops too quickly. We’re still learning what the community wants and how we are going to apply our learnings from the Kommetjie Neighbourhood Market before we open the next one,” he said.

He said the first week’s sales at the market had been amazing and they kept running out of produce.

“This is proof that residents
and community members are hungry for local organic produce with a story,” he said.

During the Echo’s visit to the market of Friday August 10, almost all fresh produce were sold out.

Shop assistant Stan Ndaba said the shop was very busy. “Some of the customers have been in every day since we opened, and you get to know their faces and what they need,” he said.

KommetjieresidentSarah Schreiber visited the market
for the first time on Friday.

“It is very convenient, and I love it. I will definitely support it in the future,” she said.

The market will have its official opening today, Thursday August 16.