It all started when Time Freight developed a relationship with the Wildlands Conservation Trust’s Food-Preneur project, an initiative that is set to reach hundreds people in rural communities. Time Freight CEO Etienne Van Ravesteyn saw the synergies between the goals of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme and those of the Trust, and embarked on the partnership during the latter part of 2010.
The Wildlands Conservation Trust’s (WCT) primary concern is the effective conservation of the regions biodiversity. However, it recognises that this is simply not possible whilst a significant proportion of South Africans live in conditions that do not afford them the luxury of appreciating this biodiversity.
In response to this challenge, WCT, supported by Time Freight, developed a sustainable communities programme aimed at supporting the transformation of communities into healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities through:
- The provision of Reel Gardening seed strips, as recommended by Time Freight from an article in the Financial Mail;
- The provision of intensive training and mentorship by Ms Ncamsile Hlatswayo, the Wildlands Food-Preneur facilitator; and
- The development of a market for any surplus vegetables grown by the Food-Preneurs, and the facilitation of access to this market, using vehicles donated by Time Freight.
The brainchild of Claire Reid, Reel Gardening was invented by Claire when she was 16 years old, and her project was entered into the Eskom Young Scientists expo which won a gold medal at the national finals. Reel Gardening is a pre-fertilised seed strip that encases the desired seed at the correct depth and distance apart. The strip is marked at the correct depth with a coloured line indicating both depth and seed type (e.g. tomato is red). There are planting instructions written on each strip in seven official South African languages along with drawings, and the strip reduces water wastage by 80%!
Food-Preneur starter kits
During January this year, the Food-Preneur project, in partnership with Time Freight kicked off when each Food-Preneur was issued with starter kits consisting of chicken mesh, watering cans and seed strips. Together with the starter kits, Food-Prenuers receive training in sustainable agriculture.
Three community meetings were held in Willowfontein, Swapo and Sweetwaters from 26 – 28 January 2011 to inform them of the super-grower and super-collector categories, and the qualification criteria for the Food-Preneur project. A number of follow-up visits and meetings were then held with the Willowfontein waste-preneurs to verify database information and registration particulates.
Further training programmes took place in Zululand, Willowfontein, Swapo and Sweetwaters during February and March 2011.