The idea behind Arbor Week – now Arbor Month in SA – is to encourage us to plant trees and grow our understanding of the green world around us. In Orange Farm, transforming a barren place of land to a community garden has resulted in reduced crime and a self-sustainable community.
The location of the Siyakhula Ngokulima Farming Project in Extension 1, Orange Farm, was once an area notorious for robbery and rape. The 3-hectare strip of land is an access point between the local railway station and the Orange Farm community. With the threat of crime ever present on this vital walkway for commuters getting to and from the city, something needed to be done.
Reverend Luke Moyo, local community leaders, and several fellowships sought out a solution to their mutual problem. Recognising Rev. Moyo’s faith and determination, JAM SA, together with WesBank, embarked on a partnership that has since flourished.
While keeping a watchful eye over the project, JAM has given Rev. Moyo the freedom to manage the farm with the help of four other local pastors. The little spare time Rev. Moyo has is often spent traveling to the homes of others in Orange Farm to assist in the initiation of small-scale vegetable projects.
The community garden grows everything from Chinese spinach, to cabbage, tomatoes and kale. These are either sold for revenue or distributed to families in need. Profit raised from the farm is reinvested into the project to ensure positive and self-sustainable growth.
Since 2009, the partnership has brought a means of income to the community, a reliable source of food, a massive reduction in crime, cooperation amongst several pastors in the area, and a profound rise in spirit. Locals are often awestruck by the progress the farming project has made over the past four years. A once neglected waist-high grass field is now the scene of lush vegetables…life!
(words and photo by Rafael Woldeab)