Capacity Building: Urban Farming and Gardening


Hello again!! Sorry I have taken so long to post another report.

I want to say a big thank you to all those donors who have given over USD700 in March and April. I cant quite believe it and am very grateful indeed for your interest and support. Please remember that if you want to communicate directly with me, all you have to do is say so, by e-mailing directly to me at Please dont forget to state who you are and that you have come via GlobalGiving. I will be delighted to correspond. The GlobalGiving privacy policy quite rightly prevents any project leader communicating directly with you unless you request it.

Its been hectic in ABALIMI lately. Since February 08 we launched our new Harvest of Hope flagship initiative and it is pumping! The community farmers AND the clients are all galvanised by it and we are growing the scheme shortly to supply over 200 organic boxes every week because demand to join (from both sides) is so strong. I attach an updated brochure on Harvest of Hope for your interest.

Of course, everything is about training- for example- each time we contract a new farmer, we are training him/her at the same time about contracting.

So your money is being well spent.

I am also attaching a nice article written on ABALIMI recently by the Organic Gardeners magazine in Australia and New Zealand. Do take a peek, its nicely done and speaks about the social benefits of what we do in ABALIMI, which to my mind are the MOST improtant.

I also want to point out that SEED has gone independent of ABALIMI (which is great- they are getting strong) and now have their own offering in GlobalGiving. I nominated them ! I have yet to update ABALIMI's offering to this effect because it means a complete re-write of the ABALIMI offering which I find daunting. But if you want to support SEED specifically, please do go direct to them, they will love you for it!! Of course, ABALIMI passes their portion of any donations from you on to them in the meantime.

Lastly I want to say a HUGE thank you to the GlobalGiving staff (Siama and Dana in particular) for all their hard work to make such a special interface possible and workable. Its always improving and I know they literally work their hearts out to make it so. They are dedicated and wonderful and helpful people.

So, until next time, I suggest that anyone out there who is not growing some healthy organic vegetables in pots on their windowsill or in soil direct, why dont you get going? You will experience a miracle which will make you strong, alive and best of all really "connected".

Green and growing greetings! Rob Small for ABALIMI

P.S. I have also attached an "Abalimi Overview" which gives another take on our work. May be useful.


Dear friends, I attach a thank you letter to those who donated over 600 USD via Global Giving in December 07. Along with the letter I attach a brochure on Harvest of Hope, our new "farmers market" scheme, which is the result of all that good training we can give to the farmers because of your help! Many thanks, once again. Rob Small- for Abalimi Bezekhaya (Planters of the Home)


Hello everyone and also to all of you who have contributed to Abalimi because of Grace Wong! Just to let you know that she and Flavia (her friend from her church community) came and visited Abalimi. She says she will report back to you as soon as she gets back to the States. It was really good to meet Grace and show her around a bit. She should have quite a few photos to share with you! She visited a few of the community gardens and also attended our 25 Year Birthday celebration, where over 200 community gardeners and micro-farmers came to enjoy an end-of-year meal with the staff of Abalimi!

Secondly, I am posting a brochure for you to read about an exiting new initiative, which Abalimi is launching called Harvest of Hope. Harvest of Hope is very much a capacity building initiative, as well as a social business, so it fits in perfectly with our current project. Its a pdf file and I hope it shows up on the GlobalGiving website ok. If not, please let me know.

Thirdly, I am posting a couple of articles I wrote, which appeared in a couple of national and international publications. Hope you can access them and hope you find them interesting!

This may be the last you hear from me in 2007, although it is possible that I may get a chance to post another update before Christmas. If not, I wish you all the very best for Christmas and for 2008.

As ever Rob Small


Dear Friends I have just recieved notice from Dana Ledyard of Global Giving that USD 299.54 is being transferred to our project. This amount has come from 9 donors and will be enough to train at least two people in organic micro-farming and working with kids in the outdoor classroom, who in turn will affect the lives of many hundreds.

If any of you would like to check out our latest Friends Newsletter (# 34), please go to and read for yourself the results we are getting. If you would like a hardcopy, please send me your request and postal details to ! I will post you a hardcopy and thereafter you will get a Friends Newsletter in the mail twice a year.

It is a very special and wonderful thing that you, who live virtually on the other side of the planet, care enough to put their own money into our work. This is deeply inspiring to me!

Thank you one and all!!

best regards Rob Small

P.S. One of you, Grace Wong (hi Grace!), is coming to visit us in November. I and the rest of the team are looking forward to meeting her. Perhaps she will also post a report on her experience afterwards!

Being a freelance photographer, Kate Pesendorfer had the opportunity to join Vatiswa Dunjana and Liziwe Stofile, two urban agriculture fieldworkers from Abalimi, on a day tour to see their trainees. I had the privilege to meet six extraordinary people, who inspired her. Rob Small, Resource Mobilisation Manager and his crew, showed her through their work – how they not only train people but how the seeds they plant are nurtured by them.

Lucky strikes luck in ‘Garden Eden’

Coming from a farm in a rural area of the Eastern Cape, unemployed Lucky Solofute (28) was diagnosed with TB. After his treatment at Phumlani clinic in the township Philippi in Cape Town, he found out he was also infected with AIDS.

One day, he saw an old lady working in the garden of the clinic. Lucky felt sorry for her and wanted to help Maggie with the strenuous work. Reaching out a helping hand to Maggie, Lucky started working voluntarily in the garden for two months. Maggie retired and Lucky gladly took over her duties. Fresh air and eating his own planted vegetables, says Lucky, are supplements to his medication. Exercise makes him feel strong and confident instead of sitting at home, which makes him tired. He reports health benefits and strength. The clinic helped Lucky to receive a government grant for his HIV sickness and he in turn supports his sister and her three children. The produce of the garden is used for his own needs, his sisters and the people at the clinic.

Lucky enjoyed a four-day course with Abalimi, where he learned to manage and fertilise soil properly. In the Eastern Cape, you can only plant during the rainy season, whereas in Cape Town, crops can grow continuously. Lucky is now supported by the NGO Ikamwa La Bantu with R600 monthly, which might last until he is self-sufficient and has his own business. Lucky’s dream is to extend his space at the clinic garden but the others, who have the other part of the ground, won’t let him – he doesn’t give up.

One plot – two stories

At the crèche ‘Kumbulani Educare’, in Section I, in the township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, a social development scheme has been initiated by ‘old’ people to utilise space to create a garden. Senior citizens were advised to find a location for this garden. This project was started in 2005 by Ikamwa La Bantu and Social Development (?).

Vuyisile Qotoyi (67), a member of the old-age group, says old people should not sleep all day but exercise. Vuyisile thrives on working outside, exercising and staying healthy. He joined in 2006 and did a course with Abalimi the same year. He loved learning how to work with vegetables. Melons and pumpkins were, at the time, all he knew from farming in the Western Cape. Vuyisile is so proud that, beside the garden at the crèche, he has his own at home. Vuyisile’s wife is unemployed and he supports four. He receives a pension from the government and is hoping for a stipend (from Ikamwa La Bantu).

Mzukisi Vokwana (50) is the ‘doctor’ of the garden – he wears surgical gloves at work. He always wanted to plough and when Mzukisi came in 1985 from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, he fulfilled his dream. In 2005 the founder of the crèche recruited Mzukisi and today he is one of the two main co-ordinators of the garden. Six men and one woman work the garden, which belongs to them. The produce is for their own usage, parts of it is given to the crèche, the old-age home and the rest is sold to HIV/Aids. They raise between R 50 to R100 with the sales. None of the group is infected but they are all affected by the garden in being able to produce for their own livelihood.

Mzukisi did a course with Abalimi and is proud to work his first own garden. He loves eating his own fresh veggies.

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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