Soil For Life… Urban Gardening Inspiration Like Never Before…

As the month of June draws to a close, so does the Yuppie Chef Eat for the Earth Campaign… and we invited you to help us support them. Firstly we needed to explain the problem, we live in a particularly Hungry Nation… one where at any given time 60% of the people are either hungry or afraid, they just don’t know where their next meal is coming from. It is alarming and there is no quick fix… but I firmly believe that small steps make a difference.


The Eat for the Earth Campaign is one that raises funds for an organisation called Soil for Life… and we wanted to see what they were really all about. It is all very well to say this is a good project to support, but we really wanted to show you why. So we went to visit them on a wet wintry morning… who cares about the weather, these are folk with warm hearts, busy hands, creative minds and a big vision…


The folk at soil for life teach folk how to garden, with what they have… using resources available to them and skills that they can learn. A hungry family needs food now… they cannot wait for airy-fairy-pie-in-the-sky-ideals in the form of the odd spinach leaf to grow. They need real skills, that require the least amount of resources… practical hands on training that will last them a lifetime. This is exactly what is going on here… you can see their results here:

  • Home Food Gardeners Trained: 1598
  • People Benefited from that Food: 9600
  • Participating in Life-Skills Training: 1162
  • Still gardening after more than 4 years: 60%


Soil for Life is all about educating people in organic food gardening: enabling folk to grow and produce vegetables in very small spaces, using minimal water and no pesticides. Students are taught opportunity creating skills… they learn about health and nutrition, soil improvement, food processing and preserving, as well as how to set up a market or a small business. Everything else that these intrepid teachers do… and they do a lot, is a means to educating more folk in the art of urban gardening.


So let’s meet our tour guides and explore their incredible garden… and the school where they teach folk the ins and outs of gardening from scratch…



Where ever you are in the garden you will be inspired…




They create beautiful functional gardens from whatever you can imagine…


se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6315.jpg se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6443.jpg

se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6390.jpg se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6391.jpg


They create useful art from scraps…







And not just neat rows of vegetables…


But actual produce…


Would you look at these gourds…


Green Gardening

Where ever they can they have taken the green option: They are water-wise, pesticide free, managing waste, the list is endless.

Pedal Powered Watering:


Drip Watering:


Recycle Bottle Watering: Remember playing with a soda bottle, and spiking a hole in the bottom of it… when you open the lid the water drips out… when you close the lid it doesn’t… well here is a practical use for that… instead of the water running off the surface, bury your bottle and let the water drip into your garden instead.


Bug Hotels:


Sun Reflectors:



Even the bathroom is a work of art…


And the greener composting option…


Worm Farms

We learnt how they use scraps from a local vegetable store… to feed their worms. And worm farms for Africa in baths…


Where there is a green choice to be made, they make it…


I am thinking we need an old bath, or an old sink… right now!!! Not to mention pallets, folks… pallets!!! Ingenious and practical all at the same time…


We went on to learn about their compost farm, how they create it and from what. Firstly, on a garden scale….


Secondly, on a grand scale… layers of dry leaves, green garden waste; organic kitchen waste; straw; manure; dry leaves, and so on… they keep it under tarps because of the heavy rains we had… they turn it daily from pile to pile and it literally cooks. In just a few weeks they have fabulous compost. And I now have a child who would like to be a professional composter!!!


Then everyone had a chance to dig it over…

se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6500.jpg se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6494.jpg

se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6490.jpg se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6485.jpg

se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6478.jpg se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6475.jpg


After all the digging as the compost is turned from pile to pile down the hill… eventually it is sieved…


And good for sale…


It just needs to be placed in bags…


What Can You Do Today for Our Hungry Nation

  1. This very weekend you can host an Eat for the Earth Meal: Monday is the last day. Gasp, just do it… have some friends over for a bowl of soup, a cup of cocoa… register your feast and help them out. It doesn’t have to be a huge production… friends and food for a fabulous cause. Just can’t beat it.
  2. se7en-31-Oct-13-IMG_9336.jpg

  3. You can buy an online voucher: to support one of their many many projects: Support an urban farmer from as little as R10 ((+/- $1) with packets of seeds, bags of compost… for R100 (+/- $10. you can sponsor a garden tools, seeds, and plants).
  4. se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6521.jpg

  5. You can take a class there or pay for someone to join a workshop: The funds they get from their workshops they put back into the project… enabling them to teach more people in the poorer communities.
  6. se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6387.jpg

  7. You can take a school trip there: Teach the next generation tips and tricks and inspire them… life-skills they are going to need.
  8. se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6553.jpg

  9. You can stop by their store: and support them by buying some of their life-giving compost, and choose from many many planters. You an buy seeds, seedlings and plants there.
  10. se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6549.jpg




  11. You can even hire their venue or do team building there: What a beautiful spot to have a conference, or hold a function.
  12. se7en-18-Jun-14-DSC_6540.jpg

  13. You Can Volunteer There: You can actually put your name on the volunteer list. Think about it, 67 minutes is just a couple of weeks away.
  14. And the Se7en + 1th thing that you can do:

  15. Get Gardening: We are so inspired, our garden has been in a slump the past year but as we are passed the midlle of winter… we are inspired to get clearing, digging, preparing and planting… you don’t have to have a huge garden – we certainly don’t. Even a bucket planted with herbs would be a really good place to start.


Thank you so much to Soil for Life, for having us over and showing us your project, and thank you Yuppie Chef for hosting Eat for the Earth again… and helping us to make a difference. This is not a sponsored post, the opinions expressed are entirely our own – we love their work and heartily support there effort to make a difference.

13 Replies to “Soil For Life… Urban Gardening Inspiration Like Never Before…”

  1. I smile as I read this tonight as just today I wrote about our visit there on Friday to purchase seedlings for my sons square foot garden. I don’t normally read your blog, but found it the other day again after many years. Nice to see you and yours all grown up! Wendy xx

  2. Totally Marcia, It is so good to see a project that is flying… so enthusiastic and excited about what they are doing. Packed with energy, they really make you feel like together we can do this, we can feed our nation household by little household. Sending lots of love to you all, hope you have a good week!!!

  3. Hay Wendy, How are you… Great minds think alike… your little guy looks like he had a fab time visiting. I have to say my gang is so enthused and ready to dive in and dig… I am all for it, get them out their and planting… step by step we have to get back into our gardening rhythm. Hoe you have a great week ahead!!!

  4. What a bounty of inspiration and such amazing work they’re doing. I was totally awe-struck by all the creative gardening pics – more so because I’ve been working passionately on my organic kitchen garden these days. We recently moved to Goa – the beautiful coastal state in South-west India. Here, we have some land to grow our own vegetables.

    Infact, isn’t it synchronicity that just when you were writing this post – “Soil for Life”, the same time I wrote this – “Cultivating the Soil of My Soul and the Soul of My Soil”. (Link is in CommentLuV if you want to see!). This world is connnected in more ways than we can fathom, isn’t it! India and South Africa have always been connected… 🙂
    Much love to you and your adorable family.

  5. Wonderfully inspiring writing and pictures… That steaming compost is just the best! Seems Prince and Thomas looked after you well – they are so knowledgeable, such legends!
    Looking forward to seeing pictures of your buckets of herbs when the warmer weather arrives in Cape Town!

  6. Hay Rashmie, How simply lovely of you to stop by and comment. I had to take a look at your gardening project… exciting times and so inspirational. I am off to show the children where Goa is on the map at breakfast time. Wishing you a beautiful week.. lots of love from your friends in Cape Town.

  7. Oh Debbie, what a visit… a cold a drippy day and the hot steamy compost… intrigued and excited about impending projects. we had such a great visit, really they are the most energetic and ready to help/teach/inspire gang… I see a lovely visit to their shop for bags of compost in our very near future!!! No pressure, we’ve blogged it, now we have to do something!!! Wishing you all the best on the far side of the world!!!

  8. Wow, what a fantastic visit. One of our school moms actually started the worm farm thing here in SA and sold the idea to Woolworths. She shows the grade 2 ‘s every year how it works and they have a farm at the school for that time

  9. Cat, that’s brilliant… we had a teeny tiny worm farm working for us… but it met it’s demise when it was somewhat overloved. I am all ready to try again. And everyone is keen to get gardening!!! Hope you have a good week!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *