Heart & Soil Vegetable Garden

$1,680 of $7,272 goal

Raised by 7 people in 17 months
We have land that is part of our garden nursery, but it is currently filled with 20 years worth of old movie props, wire, stones and trash, and we don’t have the capacity to make it workable in the next couple of years without some help.

So..we’re looking for help to make our land useful to others, to help it get productive more quickly, and to help someone (hopefully more than one person) make a living growing good vegetables. We will also move some of our nursery stock to make more space for this garden. The costs of land in this area make even a highly successful vegetable garden project unlikely to be profitable, and while we'll provide the land, we will need help with overhead costs for about two years.

Our initial fundraising goal ($7272) would cover costs for the entire first year, and as a family we will try to provide all support during the second year. We believe that the plot has the potential to pay for itself from the third year.

Given the shortage of land in Masiphumelele, and the need for local, organic, affordable vegetables, a vegetable garden would be a good use of this space. The space is about 1500m2, which is large enough for significant vegetable gardening activities.

A long-term Masiphumelele resident, Daniel, originally from Zimbabwe, has experience and skills and would like to use the land to farm but cannot clear without a truck (to be clear, we're not buying a truck with this money... we're going to hire people that have access to a truck to help clear...), does not have capital for the inputs needed to start the garden, or to pay for a share of rates needed to make things sustainable long-term.

Specifics on how will we use funds:
- The garden area will be cleared of rubble and trash,
- We’ll set up an fruit trees and a garden space from scratch.
- We will use the some of the money to pay for rates and employment of Daniel during the period where the vegetable garden is not making any money.
- Set up a sustainable composting system.

The goal of the garden will be to: 
(1) provide affordable vegetables— particularly hard-to-find (sometimes termed “traditional”) vegetables— to Masiphumelele residents,
(2) to be a beautiful, sustainable space, (potentially also for learning) and
(3) to ultimately provide a living wage to between 1 and 3 entrepreneurs in the garden.

We have some experience as vegetable gardeners, and a pretty good understanding of the cost of vegetable garden startup and programme management, and believe these funds will be a cost-effective way to make an otherwise difficult endeavor sustainable and potentially life-changing.

Thank you so much for your support!
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Dear all- I wanted to give an update on how we're doing! I've kept careful track on how we've used the money so far: we've done a lot of clearing (3 container trucks full!), and Daniel has been using some of his time to grow vegetables in bags, as he was having very little success in the ground as the soil is still relatively poor. Growing greens in bags has been very successful, and makes use of our shadehouse. I'm currently a little conflicted over how to scale up and use the space wisely- as I do not have enough time to manage the whole space, but we have also not raised enough money to cover Daniel's time for more than a few months. So I have decided that, for the summer months, I hope to put one large input of compost so that the space (rather than just bags) can be used. I will then use the remaining money fundraised to support Daniel growing vegetables for the summer season, with the hopes that we'll have a clearer idea of how to make the garden more sustainable, after that. I'll also post some photos of the bagged vegetables in the next week or so!
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Hi everyone! With the money raised so far and some of our own money (for clearing areas that are more central to the nursery), we're moving forward with clearing, with the help of two sets of people. Daniel has planted out pumpkin and kale in the cleared area, but it's clear that without infrastructure and inputs (and a nice, clear area) it's very hard to be successful. So we're working slowly and carefully! I'll take photos once a new area is cleared and post them here! Thank you so much for your support!
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Daniel cleared a small section of land to see how vegetables will grow, and we found that our water seems particularly bad right now. We are trying to see if the poor groundwater is seasonal and related to the drought, or if we need to make other plans for water (Including rainwater catchment and improving the soil-- which are good either way).

I'm starting to get recommendations on clearing-- determining what on the land is worth trying to sell, what we can try to recycle, what needs to go to landfill, etc. We're trying to avoid the landfill as much as possible, so the process will be a little slow.

We haven't used any of our fundraised money yet, and are trying to wait until we know exactly how much clearing will cost, and how much we've raised, to know how to balance other costs.

Thank you so much for following along, and for your generosity. Also, if you are planning on donating via our South African bank account, I will add your contribution in equivalent U.S. dollars so that it's reflected here. We're raising money in the U.S. because we think of how much one trip to Target would cost us when we lived in the U.S., and how much that could be stretched here...
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I wanted to share 2 pictures of the extent of the space-- as you can tell it's a large space, sheltered by trees from the wind, and that it's quite a mess right now.
One view of the space in current state
view in other direction
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$1,680 of $7,272 goal

Raised by 7 people in 17 months
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Di & Louise
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