A member of a gardening cooperative is living her dream of feeding the nation after she was allocated additional land in Eikenhof, South of Joburg.
Violet Mabaso’s ‘never give up’ spirit is paying off through her Molobanyane Cooperative. Her resilience and exemplary commitment to gardening drawn from her background in the nation’s agriculture heartland of Limpopo Province saw her team up with other coops in tilling small allotments of land given to them by Joburg City Council at the one-hectare Lenin Garden in Tsutsumani.
The resilience started with them clearing boulders, rubble, trees and grass from a former dumpsite and assisted by the council to convert the place into an enviable productive garden, proving that determination is the foundation for success.
Mabaso now produces impressive varieties of organic vegetables and herbs for a huge domestic and surrounding market of restaurants and supermarkets in affluent Sandton, Wendywood and other areas.
Her commitment earned her praises of the council, provincial government and, the National Department of Small Business Development. They bestowed her accolades and invited her to parliament as an exemplary symbol of the success of the cooperative model and to network with others of like mind. Mabaso is now expecting promises of financial and advisory support made by the department to materialise as she prepares to expand work to the new one-hectare allocation of her own at the 288-hectare farm.
“Knowing the government’s slowness and as an entrepreneur, its promises will find me ahead,” Mabaso said.
“One ought to use their potential, physical and mental resilience to be independent, self-reliant, ward off poverty, misery and crime.”
She now wants to venture into food processing, starting with the Thai Curry Paste made from her variety of herbs which she delivers to Thai and other restaurants. She added that the soils are virgin fertile, loamy and suitable for all types of plants. “Council policy also allows for the expansion to help maintain food production and resilience against hunger while exposing productive models on self-sufficiency to others.
She used her profit to acquire the necessary implements to ensure the new site is ready for production before the rainy season. “It’s my greatest opportunity to secure myself, my family, create employment and provide food while doing what I like best.”
She also bought a Wendy house with electric connections which will be transported to the site. It has a separate bedroom and additional room to prepare, pack and refrigerate her produce and plan her work during the night. “I hope to help change the mindset of others who I may find struggling to believe in their potential for success from the land.”
Mabaso will also draw in support from students at the University of Joburg she said will test and ensure soil quality is good and the water is not contaminated. “Also, there are many investors who are keen to partner with equipment, any project they see with potential for success particularly in food production and security.”
Details: Violet Mabaso 083 517 6087.