"Through the HandPicked Programme, growers learn essential life skills, crop growth production, farming and agriculture management, economics, and agribusiness. This knowledge empowers the youth and communities to become self-sufficient while equipping them with the skills to start and manage their own agricultural businesses," says Karen Wells, head of the Mr. Price Foundation.
"We have partnered with The African Grower System and Freshlife Produce to create a program that promotes sustainable and environmentally friendly farming methods. This method of farming involves planting crops in vertical towers using coconut coir as the growing medium. The system is highly efficient and eco-conscious, using less water and space than traditional farming methods and maximising scarce resources in urban and rural
environments," adds David Churchman, head of finance and HandPicked at the Mr. Price Foundation.
Sustainable methods in small spaces
The positive impact of the program can already be seen in communities and schools across the country. Only three years since its inception, the program has already trained 27 home growers, facilitated 10 tertiary students in its 12-month internship program, and established three agribusinesses. Six community farming hubs have emerged, and a feather in its cap is the first retail rooftop farm in the Western Cape at the Kenilworth Mall.
Cairey Baxter-Bruce, Show Director of the East Coast Radio House + Garden Show, says: "This eco-friendly method of agriculture has the potential to transform how we see our home gardens. It enables us to grow our own herbs, plants, and flowers using sustainable methods in small spaces. One of the key pillars within this year's show theme, 'My Home, My Way,' is around 'My Sustainable Living.'
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