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."
Greetings once again dear Global Giving Friends !
Abalimi is attracting a LOT of attention, especially our Harvest of Hope Community Supported Agriculture business, www.harvestofhope.co.za which returns all net profits back into farmer support and development.
Our latest Newsletter, # 39 on www.abalimi.org.za 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!!
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 .
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. .
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
greetings from the 'bottom' of Africa , once again!
We got some very lovely coverage in the USA by Rosie Spinks in the Daily Good recently. See Link 1 below!
Another bit of good news is that Todd and Marysia, filmmakers, also from America, are working hard to complete a new movie on our work, and they are looking for a bit if help to do so - all done for the love of our Family Microfarmers and Abalimi. They are extraordinary Friends indeed. Please check them out on Link 2.
And of course there has been an ongoing stream of wonderful encouragement via your donations, which is like good rain on fertile soil!! Thank you so much, one and all !
This year we will be documenting our model in great detail so that we can give it away as a "free social franchise" to any farmer group or support organization who are serious about small farmer development for food security and want to create real community based micro-farming jobs. Watch this space.
I hope that 2012 is going well for you and that you will come visit our micro-farming movement in Cape Town sometime, if you have not done so already.
More reports in due course. Thank you so much to the GlobalGiving Team who work so incredibly hard to make this space available to us all. I even got a reminder to post a report, for which I am very grateful.
All the very best to you all, wherever you are.
Greetings to you in a sparkling new 2012!!
It is definitely the "wake up!" year, I think. No more can we continue in the aggressive, bully-boy, winner takes all manner which is continually exampled (while often saying the opposite) by our world political and business "leaders".
But we don't need stupid violent people's revolutions either, destroying everything and forcing us backwards.
So thank you , again, for your ongoing and generous help and interest in "the Gentle Revolution" - see my previous posting for more info.
Please take a look at our latest Friends Newsletter # 38 on www.abalimi.org.za . It focuses on how the youth are really starting to come in to the micro-farming movement.
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Resource Mobilisation Leader and Board Secretary