DRUM - - Health -

Lovedalia Tsewu from Gugulethu, near Cape Town, is a pas­sion­ate planter who uses her love for the soil to as­sist oth­ers.

“I re­tired from do­mes­tic work in my early six­ties, but I didn’t en­joy sit­ting around at home with noth­ing much to do and only a state pen­sion to sup­port me,” she says. “I had a hip re­place­ment op­er­a­tion in 2013 and af­ter that I knew I had to do some­thing.”

Her an­swer was right on her doorstep – the trans­for­ma­tion of a few beds of flow­ers into a veg­etable gar­den. That way she could at least con­trib­ute to­wards feed­ing her­self and her ex­tended fam­ily.

“I had no idea about how to grow veg­eta­bles but I’d heard about this or­gan­i­sa­tion that trains peo­ple to de­velop their own or­ganic food gar­dens, Soil for Life. I got to­gether a group of 15 peo­ple in my com­mu­nity and we did a three-week train­ing course.”

That was four years ago and now her small patch of land has ex­panded. She not only feeds her fam­ily, she’s also set up a sec­ond veg­gie gar­den in a nearby ed­u­care cen­tre that pro­vides fresh, nu­tri­tious food for the kids there.

She’s helped by her el­dest son, Ray­mond, and at cer­tain times of the year they can also earn ex­tra in­come by sell­ing sur­plus veg­eta­bles to fam­i­lies in the com­mu­nity.

“This has changed my life,” she says. “I learnt to feed my­self and my fam­ily, the kids in the ed­u­care cen­tre, and to sell food to the com­mu­nity. I’ve also trained my son Ray­mond, so if I’m no longer able to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing the gar­den he’ll carry on.”

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