The seeds we planted together at the Oranjezicht City Farm are sprouting. Seeds of vegetables. Of beauty. Of sustainability. Of community. Of change. These are exciting times.
In the five months since we cleared the grass from the bowling green in February, we have seen the site transformed with paths, beds, trees and all things green and growing (organically, of course!). Heritage and heirloom varieties are being planted. There is a solar-powered pump sending lei water flowing to the pond. A worm farm is producing vermicompost and tea to enrich the soil. Benches are being installed. Terraces expanded. High above in a centuries-old oak, an owl box awaits a feathered resident to help keep marauding squirrels at bay.
The Farm is helping to change our community. More than 100 bokashi buckets are now filling up in neighbourhood kitchens, diverting waste from landfill while helping feed the Farm’s soil. Many hundreds of volunteers have acquired new skills and a sense of belonging by lending a hand, digging, planting, weeding.
We have a neighbourhood market that is actually in our neighbourhood every Saturday morning, with the Market Day growing in attendance and extending beyond the herbs, vegetables and fruit (and even beyond coffee!) to become a place where neighbours of all stripes come to read the newspapers, sample healthy local food, discuss the issues of the day, enjoy the company of friends, and make new friends of neighbours they may only be meeting for the first time. There is a feeling of belonging and pride that is unmistakable, whether cosy in the old barn out of the rain or spread out under the oaks on a fine morning.
The Farm is presenting musical concerts, educational programmes for school children, leadership workshops for teenaged leaders of tomorrow, and hosting groups from all corners of Cape Town and the globe who come to see the remarkable things beginning to happen in Oranjezicht at OZCF.
All this in just five months. But these are just the green shoots. There is so much more to come.
Educational offerings will expand. Volunteer programmes will grow. Plans are being drafted for a modest seedling house. Signage and artworks will help tell the stories of the Farm and connect visitors with the heritage of our community and our city. Indigenous culinary plants will be grown, propagated and sold to broaden our palates and diversify our gardens. A membership programme will bring added benefits. Exciting events are planned for September, October and December, which we hope will become annual additions on the local calendar. We will work with the City to develop a conservation management plan for the broader precinct, partnering with the City, our neighbour, Stepping Stones pre-primary school, and others like St Cyprians to help strengthen the fabric of our neighbourhood and give it a firm foundation for any further growth that might be envisioned.
The growth of the Farm to date has only been possible through the hard work, generosity and commitment of numerous individuals and organisations. As an all-volunteer, community non-profit, we rely on contributions of all sorts, from the generous Madame Zingara group of restaurants, Reliance Compost, MH&A Consulting Engineers, Lema Civils, CNdV Africa, David Hellig and Abrahamse Land Surveyors, Derrick Integrated Communications, Talborne Organics, Michells Wholesale Nursery, and other companies, to the volunteer efforts and financial donations, large and small, of individuals– not to mention the wonderful women of the neighbourhood who pack a home made lunch for the farm workers on Saturdays.
If the Farm is to realise its full potential, and to flourish in the midst of our neighbourhood, we will continue to need such contributions. For while we are privileged to be in a more affluent community rich in heritage, the Farm cannot survive on good will and the sweat of dedicated volunteers alone. We hope you will consider what OZCF has been able to achieve and what this can mean for urban farming, for conservation, for sustainability, for community pride, for your neighbourhood, your neighbours, your family and yourself if we are able to sustain our efforts into the future. We hope you will consider making a donation to support OZCF.
We also have a limited number of memorial benches still available for donations of R5000, R7500 or R10 000 that are wonderful ways of remembering a loved one, and trees at the Farm can be memorialised for just R2000. Some of the benches are already on the Farm, so please come and visit to have a look.
Whether you are in a position to donate hundreds of thousands, hundreds or just a few rand, we are hoping we can count on your support to see the green shoots now growing at the Oranjezicht City Farm really start to flourish, to the benefit of our entire community and beyond. Please give generously.
With deep appreciation from the soles of our muddy boots to the tips of our green thumbs,
Sheryl Ozinsky, Mario Graziani, Kurt Ackermann, Tanya de Villiers, Mark Stead