Growing Upwards was established in September 2020 by a group of local Knysna professionals who were moved to action through empathy for those who were struggling to eat nutritious meals on a daily basis. The fundamentals of the project include steering clear of political agendas and identifying suitable leaders in the community who can be assisted to establish and sustain a garden as a food source.
Our Aims and Objectives
It is well know that a lack of readily available, sustainable and nutritious food has profound negative consequences on the health and development of both the individual and community. In the greater Knysna area the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already vulnerable situation in which many families are struggling to meet their nutritional needs.
Ensure Community Participation
Ensure community participation with planning, implementation, decision making and long term ownership of their gardens
Create Sustainable Gardens
The creation of sustainable community, private and school food gardens throughout the greater Knysna area. Using organic sustainable practices such as natural composting, seed saving, seed swapping and integrated pest management.
Entrepreneurial Skills Development Training
Growing Upwards offers training to gardeners and members of the community. The syllabus was created by our head gardener, Sue Torrance, who is also the author of the book “Take Root and Grow”. She has created a Community Gardening Manual that is currently available in English and Afrikaans and will be translated into Xhosa. The training focuses on making the community self sufficient. There is also a new addition to the syllabus whereby entrepreneurial guidance is given during the training, so that gardeners can learn to save and make money via their gardens.
The training syllabus will include a section on developing entrepreneurial skills and opportunities for generating income from the gardens for the community.
Increase of Available Food
An increase of available, homegrown and nutritious food to the people of the greater Knysna area.
Steering Clear of Political Agendas
Steering clear of political agendas and getting food gardens planted as soon as possible.
Growing Upwards has planted thirteen substantial food gardens at vulnerable NPOs with the community in just over a year.
Our Short and Medium Term Goals
IDENTIFY potential sites and community caretakers for gardens throughout food insecure areas in the Greater Knysna. This will include an assessment of needs and potential using an assessment form, creating a budget, and capturing data information on an online database. We ask experienced NPOs (ie Knysna Education Trust, the Lions of Knysna and The Hope Foundation) for input in this phase where choices are made as they often have worked in the community for many years.
The CREATION of twelve large food gardens per year with the people from the communities who will manage them. If necessary, this will also include the set up of water systems, fencing and compost systems at each food garden for long term sustainability purposes.
TRAINING workshops for community members to learn valuable skills and to share their knowledge. This will include the provision of an educational booklet in their home language, sharing knowledge on sustainable practices such as seed saving, pest control, and using one’s food and garden waste for compost. The training syllabus will also focus on entrepreneurial skills and methods of making an income and creating employment in the garden.
The AFTER CARE of existing gardens to combat adverse weather, pests, and disease for one year. This includes four TRAINING workshops at established food gardens as the seasons change. This will be a time when we go in to replant and compost, listen to the community and help with any challenges. Seed sharing, educational sessions for the children and adults and opportunities for growth will be explored at the After Care sessions. We will look at improving the general health of the soil to reduce spend on compost going forward. After a year of After Care the gardeners and community should be in a position to sustain their own gardens going forward and to share their knowledge with others.
A MEDIUM TERM goal would be the creation of a NURSERY to supply the gardens and MARKET to sell their produce. This space would also be used for TRAINING.
Establish a local network of COMMUNICATION between gardens, using Whatsapp or other appropriate platforms. This co-operation encourages practices such as seed and seedling sharing as well as the sharing of knowledge and sale of produce amongst members of the community.