Young people from Elsies River are changing the lives of community members by planting one garden at a time.
Brothers Geronimo and Valentino de Klerk and their cousin Matthew Dirksen are part of the crew of the non-profit organisation Hope - God’s Gift For All, who started a veggie garden in the backyard of their home to assist struggling families in the community.
Geronimo says they started the garden when the Coronavirus pandemic caused many people to lose their jobs last year.
“The vision is to feed the community and educate our unemployed youth about gardening and how to make food for themselves,” he says.The produce from the garden is sent to local soup kitchens and needy families.
Their garden was partially destroyed on Saturday night by people running away from the police, but this did not deter the young lions.
Geronimo witnessed the incident.
“Police were chasing people who were outside during the curfew and the people ran through our garden,” he says.
“The police completely destroyed our pallet fencing when they could have easily jumped over the vibracrete fencing. We fixed it the following day."
They have also started gardens in other people’s backyards and have approached the ward councillor for permission to utilise open spaces in Elsies so people can become self-sufficient.
The veggies they grow include spinach, potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, sweetcorn, butternut, squash and cabbage.
They were recently featured on the TV show Expresso for their amazing work and Matthew says it feels great that they are able to assist their community.
“My father is a gardener and all that he taught me I am using in this garden,” he says.
“It brings me joy when we make deliveries and I see the ouma with her grandchildren smiling because they will have something to eat for the day.”They hope other young people will join in the movement.
“Gardens not only will assist in fighting hunger but also help fight climate change,” adds Geronimo.