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Buy the best veggies, support a fabulous cause

We heard it from Richard

NEWSFLASH: 15 July is Market Day at Streetscapes, Rugley Road. Veggies grown at the garden will be on sale, as well as produce from the other gardens (in Roeland Street, next to Fruit and Veg; at Trafalgar; and at the farm in Kuils River), including free range eggs and honey.

All we need is coffee maker and a baker, and all of our needs will be met (oh … and maybe a wine maker).

Today’s update from Richard, below. Bring your kitchen and garden waste to add to the compost pile. I did and it was gratefully received!

If buying vegetables as they are dug up by proud-but-humble gardeners in a beautiful little garden in your neighbourhood is not enough to make every part of your body and soul sing, ‘shopping’ at Streetscapes Garden in Vredehoek means you are supporting a project dedicated to helping those living on the street to rehabilitate their lives.

The garden is a little piece of heaven on earth, with its circular rows of the most delicious organic vegetables and herbs growing against the backdrop of Table Mountain. It also provides its community of gardeners with a little hope of redemption.

Streetscapes is a Cape Town-based non-profit organisation that provides job opportunities to “those looking for a hand up, not a hand out”. Including work, community connection, harm reduction, psychosocial support and shelter, the programme offers some of the most vulnerable people in our community a chance to get their lives back on track.

Take some cash and your shopping bags down to this fabulous little garden in Upper Buitenkant Street (across the road from the petrol station and the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, and alongside Rugley Road Park) and wander around for a bit, and you can expect one of the workers to approach you.

They will offer some guidance and assistance as you select veggies to be harvested for you. Maybe they will tell you a little of their story, should you be interested to hear.

Shogun at work as a supervisor in the garden

The first time I went there three of the four people I encountered were happy to chat; the fourth said to me in comfortable, confident English, “Please excuse me today.” Maybe she was new and not yet confident enough to talk to a stranger who might ask awkward questions about her “rehab”.

Shogun (like the James Clavell novel, as he told me), was working as a supervisor at the garden that day. He told me a little of his story, and I understood that working in this garden was a treasured second chance.

He told me what was ready for harvesting as we walked around together, and he picked and washed veggies as I chose them. With a humble-though-super friendly demeanour, in a different context I might have taken Shogun for a schoolteacher.

There was also Wellington (“named after the place I was born”) turning the compost, and Siphokazi tending some of the beds of vegetables and herbs.

Like the gardeners, the veggies – including masses of kale, plump leeks, deep green spinach and plenty of herbs – are thriving on this little piece of land that was previously overgrown and fenced-off (probably to stop the homeless from setting up camp there).

Streetscapes, a Khulisa flagship programme, provides a model for sustainable urban regeneration and addresses the neglected needs of a very vulnerable population.

Departing from typical emergency relief type of services for the homeless, Streetscapes is structured to address their multi-dimensional needs. The 10 project sites combine supported employment, psychosocial support and accommodation.

Some statistics about the Streetscapes project’s impact over 6 months: 

  • Daily attendance 84%
  • 47% move off the streets in 3 months, 79% in 6 months
  • 110 full-time participants, all previously chronic homeless
  • 87% have chosen to participate in substance recovery programme
  • 100% have received IDs and opened bank accounts
  • 100% have done primary health assessments and either have no health issues, or are in treatment
  • Earned income for each participant R2,300-R3,500 per month
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1st June 2023 9:51 am

No way! We walk past this park all the time. I had no idea it was a veggie garden. We will definitely be paying a visit this weekend.

I like the way you wrote this, weaving in a bit of each person’s story😊

15th July 2023 10:40 am
Reply to  Kelin

Follow up: we took our doggo for a walk and got the most amazing herbs, reddish and even a fresh chilli pesto. It was market day so some special honey and free range eggs from the other farms were also on offer – unfortunately we had just stocked up on these, bit will be back next time!

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