A NEMATO garden project entrepreneur, Minet “Rastar” Nojoko, wants to help other township residents become self-sustainable with their vegetable needs.
But the project requires a kick-start with donations of equipment for gardening and seeds needed for poor township residents to help them sustain themselves with produce from their backyard gardens.
Nojoko grew up on a farm near Grahamstown and was taught from a young age by his father to grow food for the table.
Currently unemployed, the 34-year-old father of two said he got sick and tired of waiting for help after he lost his job and decided to do something himself. “I walk around asking people for donations to buy seeds and equipment,” he said. “It is very difficult.”
His Ndinani Garden Project does not receive any formal sponsorship, and is funded solely through Nojoko, pounding the pavements of Port Alfred, Bathurst and Grahamstown.
The project distributes free seeds and provides gardening equipment and advice to residents on how to grow vegetables. “I tell people not to kill the farmers. If we kill the farmers, who is going to grow the food?” he said. Nojoko has been helping poor township people grow food in their gardens for the past 19-months.
He is currently helping 50 residents grow produce – which they can either eat or sell. But Nojoko said he could help more people if he had sponsorship and additional land to farm. He said he had approached the municipality to obtain land for food, but that was three years ago and they have done nothing about it. “Lack of will is like a car without petrol,” he said.