Training garden sprouting in Ocean View

Interns, Regan Rubain and Laurica Petersen in the garden with project manager, Brian Joffin.

Another Neighbourhood Farm garden has put down its roots in the far south, this time in Ocean View.

And although similar to the other gardens at Kommetjie Primary School, False Bay Hospital and Laerskool Paul Greyling which sells fresh produce to the public, the Ocean View garden is used as a training garden.

While fresh produce will eventually be sold from there, the half a hectare piece of land next to the Ocean View Secondary School, is used to train members of the community on how to run and maintain a sustainable garden.

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 nine south peninsula schools are part of the initiative through which children are taught about the importance of food safety and growing fresh produce.

The training market garden is currently looked after by 10 local interns who will receive training for the next 10 months. They started training in March.

A borehole is used to water the garden and manure from a local dairy and vegetable farmer is used.

Project manager, Brian Joffin said they had recently received a donation of about 2 000 cubes of mulch from the local landfill as well.

When the Echo visited on Friday June 7, Mr Joffin was teaching interns how to plant seedlings from a seed bed rather than a plug tray.

The garden was started in January and Mr Joffin said the aim was to go “completely organic” by eventually harvesting their own seed.

Intern Sophia Grodes said before starting at the training garden, she had some knowledge of growing vegetables but nothing compared to what she knew now.

“I really enjoy learning something new every day and I’m proud to be part of this project,” she said.

The highlight for her, she said, was empowering the people of the community and creating a sustainable Ocean View.

She said she was reduced to tears when the sprinklers, fed by borehole water, were turned on for the first time last week.

“It was such a big moment for us and tears just streamed down my face,” she said.

“The people of Ocean View should know that we are doing good work here.

“They must not come and vandalise the garden,” she said.

Another intern, Laurica Petersen said before joining the project she didn’t know much about gardening at all.

She said there was so much to learn and it was very calming and relaxing to be part of the magnitude of goodness that grows from the earth.”I’m very passionate about this project,” she said.

Neighbourhood Farm founder and CEO, Justin Bonello, said it was a community project and the aim was for 50% of the produce from the training market to be given back to the community.

He said a chicken coop would be up and running soon and the community could expect fresh free range eggs in the local Neighbourhood Farm stalls.

He encouraged the community to support the local Neighbourhood Farm market stalls available at Kommetjie Primary School, False Bay Hospital and Laerskool Paul Greyling.

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