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Grahamstown Gardening Initiative. Town. Community development. Special education. Basic Education. Food security. Extension 7. Extension 2. Online. Business skills training. The whole picture (we’ll come back to this). Basic skills. Documentation. Storytelling. Outreach.

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Grahamstown Gardening Initiative

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Community development

Special education

Basic Education

Food security

Extension 7

Extension 2


Business skills training

The whole picture (we’ll come back to this)

Basic skills






The open-source ethos

Basic principles:

  • Everyone does the bit they’re good at
  • No intellectual property – material produced will be free to reproduce
  • Joint training & development based on individual need
  • Inclusive – networks NGOs, local businesses, and government CSR requirements for increased efficiency
  • Work enables autonomous development
  • Fluid, objective-based project development and management
  • Strong emphasis on regular communications & public updates
  • Joint funding proposal from end of pilot run

Administrative background


Breakdown of old funding mechanisms, for a variety of reasons, including…

  • The spectre of King III – people are loathe to do things that will fail at the report stage (therefore invalidating write-offs, etc.).

Project exhaustion & failure

Too many initiatives, not enough embedding and growth.

People don’t have the time to sustain a network, so things become unintentionally isolated.

Broken capital- and paperwork-accumulation focus from government

We cannot all be financially sustainable, nor should we be. AIDS drugs are expensive, and it is misguided to imagine hospices should be earning this capital when their core business is palliative care.

Underutilisation due to difficult logistics

People don’t want to take risks, so focus on their core concern. This leads to an underutilisation of local resources (see later example).

Core issues

setup week 0
Setup: Week 0
  • Each organisation will have a page on Thirteen13, in order to consolidate the common media profile
  • Each organisation will have its own gardens, adapted to its needs
  • A local overseer in each location will be responsible for the project there, supported by:
    • Umthathi Champions with universal accreditation
    • Thirteen13 will provide a web presence
    • FTS will provide teaching materials & garden resources

Hub locations will gather information and spread resources

Organisations will be connected to similar organisations within the project

Each organisation will have set documentation, informational or practical tasks with other organisations (outside their own hub)

FTS will provide seedlings, seeds and educational resources, and will help organisations to motivate for additional non-monetary resources (such as structural materials, seedling trays, etc)

Initial activities


Site duties

Example: Umthathi

Umthathi site as an information hub and support provider to those sites in its immediate vicinity which are undertaking garden initiatives linked to FTS (Inkululeko at Ntsika and King David’s Youth Rehabilitation Programme)

Once the land behind Umthathi has been drained, this large space of land could be used to provide members of the local community, and those individuals involved with the Initiative, with a garden plot of their own, or with plots that can be shared between small groups of people.

As Umthathi is already a gardening organisation with permanent gardening staff, the site could act as a gardening support space for those other organisations in the vicinity undertaking the Garden Initiative.


  • (photos and stories)

Single on-site initiative member

  • (support from FTS & Umthathi Champions)

Interaction with similar organisations

  • (sharing knowledge and skills)

Universal Responsibilities


Possible overlap groups

School Education

Site (non-school) gardens

Business skills

Working together (examples)


business skills and income generation
Business skills and income generation

Often these skills are not trained or supported, leading to the ‘beadwork trap’

  • We train skills within a low risk environment and an active and broad support network.
  • There will be links to existing income-generation projects, but a focus on developing new enterprises using these sources as springboards, rather than ends.
  • Aiming at direct income generation risks trapping people in non-developing skills paths

Sustainable income generation requires more than just a way to make money.

Remediating failure before it happens – don’t let that first moment of giving up in disillusion happen. In order for a business to thrive, the entrepreneur requires skills such as:

  • Communications and networking
  • Teamwork and human resource management
  • Stock and invoicing
  • Understanding contracts

Integration into funding objectives

initiative funding
Initiative funding

Overall objective is to get running funding from a combination of sources (EPWP, CWP, corporate CSI).

In all of these cases, underutilisation of funds is frequent (mostly because of poor reporting standards or a lack of trust). We can circumvent this through the group approach.

Mostly sources do not fund because it represents a risk. Through the network, we can provide ways to maximise funding impact, therefore ensuring compliance with King III and legal standards.

Underutilised local resources

  • Example: A local optometrist wants to help the community through their practice.
  • They can provide information, and do outreach activities, through engaged and embedded organisations.
  • This increases both their potential market, and gives useful materials and advice to embedded stakeholders.
  • This suits both their corporate and social goals with minimal need for non-expert tasks, like finding avenues of communication.

Long-term objectives

the survey
The Survey
  • Interest
  • Are you enjoying working in the garden?
  • Are you finding the project interesting?
  • Did you know anything about growing food before?
  • Have you started a garden at home?
  • If so, is it growing well?
  • Are you noticing plants/animals/insects more than you did previously?
  • Do you think you will continue gardening at home after the school project ends?
  • Are you enjoying working with your group?
  • Is the garden work helping your other school work?
  • Do you feel better after working in the garden?
  • Academics
  • Do you feel like the garden project has helped you with your natural science work?
  • Have you been using your log book?
  • General
  • Could you run the course without FTS supervision in the future?
  • Was the level of the course material appropriate?
  • Was the amount of course material appropriate?
  • Was the content of course material appropriate?
  • Have you been remembering things you learnt a long time ago?
  • Has the project changed your involvement within the school community?




Was it easy to link the course material to curriculum material?

Has there been an effect on the student’s understanding of…  Natural Science | Life Orientation | Mathematics | English

Has your teaching developed as a result of the project?

Do you think the project will positively affect the student’s results?

Have you learnt from the project?


How interested are the students in the garden work?

Are they willing to put in extra time after class?

Are other children in the school showing interest in the project?

Have you spoken to colleagues from other schools about this project?

Have other teachers within your school displayed interest in the project?

Have you had feedback from parents or the community?

Have you created your own garden at home?


Have you given seeds to anyone?

If not, is there anybody you want to give seeds to?

Have you spoken to other people at school about your work?

Have you spoken to family members about your work?

Have you spoken to adults in your community about your work?

Survey Questions