Capacity Building: Urban Farming and Gardening

Apr 29, 2013

some lovely reports

Hello everyone, please take a look at the links below:

1. Amber Breitenberg''s blog link (see below) - Amber is a wonderful volunteer form USA who has just returned home, has posted some excellent reports on her blog- she covered some key events in Abalimi's life while she was with us, including visists to Home Gardens, a Training Course for farmers and a visit from Minister of the Presidency Trevor Manual

2. a really nice article just posted on Eat Out mag by Sarah Emily Duff- ( see below) 

THANK YOU one and all for your amazing and generous gifts. I have recently heard  that the true nature of money is "love in action" . I agree wholeheartedly with this notion,  as the true (oft forgotten) essence of money. And your gifts are certainly love in action,  in the very best sense of the word.

Bless you all until the next report :)

P.S. I see that our project has been given superstar status by GlobalGiving !!

I know from personal experience that GlobalGiving staff work incredibly hard and often go way beyond the call of duty to make things happen.  GlobalGiving itself deserves Superstar status. Thank you dear People of GlobalGiving, thank you .


Feb 14, 2013

farmer valentines

Home garden in containers Khayelitsha Jan 2013
Home garden in containers Khayelitsha Jan 2013

Dear Global Giving Friends , we just recieved a Global Giving Disbursement of USD 1648.51 from you,  via Global Giving .

I know a few of you personally,  and some have come to visit our work. so can speak about it first hand.

Firstly, thank you, thank you ! Everything truly human in life begins with a gift, and evolves towards true gifting.

With your help, the gift we give the world is that our micro-farmer movement continues to grow - over 700 new people signed up since March 2012.  Take a look at the healthy crop growing in containers , created by a new micro-farmer member in the picture attached to this report!

Furthermore, the message is spreading far and wide- "urban farming makes cities sustainable" - see part 1 of the latest article featuring Abalimi in the attached link.

I dont know if its Valentines Day in your part of the world, like it is as I write this here in South Africa. Whatever the case, I hope that you and yours are thriving.

All the very best

Rob Small


P.S. to those of you who have visited us and know us, and also to those of you who choose to contribute even though you may never have witnessed first hand what we do, please do write something on Global Giving ?  Your words of support can be powerful 


Dec 19, 2012

"If You Can Grow Your Own Food, You Can Be Free."

Founder of Abalimi, Rob Smalls (Right)
Founder of Abalimi, Rob Smalls (Right)

Abalimi isn't just about growing vegetables; it's not just a project, but a movement to foster freedom for all through community farming.

Nearly every aspect of their programming reflects local township leadership: farming, harvesting, food education, and more are all speer-headed by the black South Africans who live in the townships (Khayelitsha, Nyanga, and the and rural settlements by the Cape Flats where many of the farming plots are based).

Founder Rob Small's bottom-up leadership philosophy really shines through via the workflow of the Abalimi movement. For instance, during my visit -- which was conducted as an official Abalimi Tour -- we first visited a plot that was currently harvesting spring onions (the largest I'd ever seen in my life!) and other vegetables; there, Rob mentioned that the women working that plot had told him about a week ago that the watering system had stopped working. When he asked them whether it had been fixed, they told him no, and he proceeded to explain to them what they needed to do to get to it. Later, he let us know that it would take a phone call from him to fix the faulty equipment, but that it was important that the women learned to be resourceful and advocate for themselves.

Abalimi takes pride on nurturing community leadership. At the core of their programming is education, supported by a referral system that links people to resources (not just related to urban agriculture, but civic engagement and local municipal government services). This is all part of Abalimi's push to empower farmers to stand on their own two feet.

As with agriculture across the board, farmers are not able to make a profit (or even make net) without government subsidies. So, the funds from GlobalGiving go towards that subsidy, reducing the cost of farming and harvesting so make it worthwhile for the community. Rob's goal is to empower enough farmers to want to produce more food so that they can take more advanced orders and sell more, which will further lower the cost of farming and increase profits for the farmers. It's certain that the funds from GG are used very thoughtfully, and strategically.

The most inspiring part of the visit was meeting the woman who runs the Abalami training center (where they sell seeds to new farmers and offer training so that they can get started). She started out as a farmer, and is now such an expert that she trains other people to train farmers. From her work as a farmer, she has been able to purchase a car, send her children to school, and live a very comfortable life. Rob insists this is attainable for anyone who desires it, even in urban farming. And is constantly working to drive that message home to young people.

"If you can grow your own food, you can be free. You can earn money, drive a decent care, provide for your family. You won't have to ask the government for anything. That is real freedom."

Marking Your Plot!
Marking Your Plot!
Packaging the Vegetables for Delivery
Packaging the Vegetables for Delivery
Young Horticulturist Volunteers at Abalimi
Young Horticulturist Volunteers at Abalimi
Dec 11, 2012

Abalimi news!!!! Christmas hellooo & New Yr "blues"

Greetings once again dear Global Giving Friends !

Abalimi is attracting a LOT of attention, especially our Harvest of Hope Community Supported Agriculture business, which returns all net profits back into farmer support and development.

Our latest Newsletter, # 39 on however, focuses on our wonderful Fieldwork team who makes it all happen, plus a cover story on an unusual young man called Trinity who is a future leader among the youth . 

With this I say thank you, once again, for all your support and encouragement via your donations. It would be great if more of you popped a line to me with any questions, or stopped by and came to visit on our Tuesday tour. 

Wherever you are, may your Christmas time (no matter what you believe) be wonderful and your New Year look like blue sky thinking and excitement on your horizon.

All the very best, to one and all!!

Rob Small

P.S. I tried to attach the newsletter here, but the Global Giving attachment service was unavailable for some reason. Also, if you do visit the Abalimi website, Newlstter 39 may not be up yet,  since I only asked the administrator of the website to add it today- Sunday 9th December. Perhaps wait a day before trying. I may also get the time to come back here and try to attach the newsletter again :) Thanks again for your friendship and support . 


Oct 1, 2012

Awards media reports and visitors

Dear Global Giving Friends

Please forgive the late report, but its all for the good, since it just means we have been running off our feet to keep up with our farmer development and support program , new demand for our services and produce, plus all the wonderful interest we are getting from our Circle of Friends and the Public in general.

I attach a few items for your interest:

1. Our powerpoint presentation to the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille who awarded us Flagship status for her 110% Green Campaign in June

2. An article about us in the Topos Magazine-  an international magazine who awarded us the Topos Award which our farmer leader Christina Kaba is collecting (sponsored by Topos mag)  in Barcelona as I write. Its not a money prize, but has huge implications for maintaining and building our committed Circle of Friends.

3. Link to Lovely article # 1- by Anton Crone, a freelance journalist. Anton is a star in our sky

4. Link to "Nourishing the Planet"- an online mag who published an article by Worldwatch Institute research fellow Molly Theobalt who included us in her article. Thank you Molly if you see this! 

Thank you for your support- please do remember that R100/month (approx USD 10/m)  allows us to develop one farmer , who feeds at least 5 family members, to the point where she becomes fully sustainable.

All the very best to you all, until next time. . 

Rob Small

P.S. don't forget to come visit when in Cape Town. I lead a free-of-charge-for-Friends,  Tuesday fact finding tour,  where you meet the farmers, see the micro-farms and experience the food security and job creation that results from your help. Just contact me to ask for the invite. Until then! Rob



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Project Leader

Rob Small

Resource Mobilisation Leader and Board Secretary
Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Capacity Building: Urban Farming and Gardening