I wanted to post about this fantastic and inspiring event that I was invited to: A book launch showcasing the Women of SOIL, changing lives. These women are an absolute triumph, not only overcoming so much and changing their own lives, but the lives of those around them and their communities as well. It was a lovely celebration brought to us by Soil for Life and Women Zone, at the Artscape Theatre.
Introducing Soil for Life
We have blogged about Soil for Life before, we went to visit them a couple of years ago, when our kids were tiny, and discovered the most magical corner of garden inspiration ever.
Soil for Life is an organisation, founded by Pat Featherstone, that educates folk on how to grow their own sustainable food gardens. The gardeners become mentors, that head out into communities and teach some more. From raised beds to composting, recycling and organic practices, enabling folk to find their way in an increasingly difficult world.
Have a look at the Soil for Life website. or visit them in person in Constantia Valley.
Introducing Woman Zone
Woman Zone is an organisation celebrating women, focusing on their strengths and achievements in and around Cape Town. They hold several events and have a resource center on the ground floor of Artscape. Take a look at the Woman Zone website over here.
About the Book: Women of Soil Changing Lives
This book is a wonderful celebration of transforming lives into green and glorious gardens. The photographs throughout the book are incredible, a picture really does say “1000 words.” There are blank pages for notes, success stories to inspire and loads and loads of “how to grow your own” vegetable garden. I love the format of this book, wire bound and lies flat, it feels like a gardening journal. This book is extremely giftable, Any gardener or even an armchair gardener will be inspired to get something growing – even a windowsill garden would be a win. This book is extremely giftable, anyone with a heart for gardening and green living would absolutely love it.
The book is written in three parts:
- Part 1: Home Food Gardeners Stories and Recipes
- Part 2: Soil for Life
- Part 3: Woman Zone
This book includes ten women and their amazing garden transformations… each of the gardeners has an opportunity to tell their personal story and a recipe, using goodies from their gardens. These life stories are full of inspiration and packed with ideas – not just the most excellent tips about your kitchen garden, but life tips. Their recipes include: Red lentil hummus, vegetable stock, vegetable potjie, green mielie fritters, leafy beetroot salad, chai tea, steamed carrot pudding, green, spinach patties and nasturtium pesto. I love that we can “meet” each of theses garden heroes one on one, their story and the amazing photographs, really bring each of them to life.
In this section of the book you get the backstory, behind the scenes at Soil for Life, and it is packed with material ideas on how to grow and your own vegetable garden in a very small space… how to plan and create your vegi garden; how to feed and nourish your soil; recipes for natural pest control… seeds and seed planting… it is an amazing gardening guide.
the final section of the book tells the story of Woman Zone, a local organisation, initiated by Nancy Richards, where woman are given the platform to share their stories. The idea is to provide a safe platform for women, to inspire them and to give them a voice. They literally walk the talk… with women’s walks, talks, projects, book resources and workshops.
From the Book: Meet Ten Amazing Women Who Have Changed the World
It was such a privilege to meet the incredible women from the book in person. Their book, their event and they can be so proud of what they have achieved, not only in their own lives, but in their whole community.
- Natasha de Leeuw: “The little amount we have, we must preserve.” She left her factory job to look after her mom, who lost her legs to diabetes. She was home and unemployed. She started to re-grow and recycle, for money for bread and electricity. And then she met Pat Featherstone, and everything changed. It is a privilege to be part of Soil for Life, there is a ripple effect in the world. She once threw and apple core into her compost and it grew into a tree.
- Farieda Ryklief: “For me every day in the garden is a learning curve – and it’s cheaper than therapy.” Gardening is therapy for the stress in her life.
- Nasheema Ismail: “Whatever comes up in my garden I’m always able to give my neighbours something – the people rely on us.” Nasheema has been gardening 18 years. She was able to feed her community during covid. And with massive unemployment around her, she started a food kitchen. She has a tortoise in her compost patch and rabbits.
- Nokewekwezi Sitole: “I never throw anything away – Soil for Life teaches me not to throw out anything.” She had a new house/no electricity/nothing and a passerby asked her if she would you like to garden in Delft. She attended the training workshop and became interested. Her garden is like her baby. And she wanted to share a workshop rather than share her vegis!!!
- Nombulelo Mgogo: “I have made connections through gardening – and good friends.” Soil changed my life. Tears and smiles.
- Phillipina Piennie Johnson: “When you put that seed in the ground, if you don’t look after it, it won’t grow. I have to look after my health in the same way.” At first I said that I didn’t have green fingers, but now I work at SOIL three days a week. I started learning at the workshop and by the third day of the seed box I was so excited. Now I am in charge of the worm boxes at SOIL, they are my passion.
- Nomathemba Bakubaku: “Before when I woke up I would clean the house then sit with nothing to do. Now I wake up and water my garden.” She is thankful for Soil for Life and her teacher, Livingston. Everyone has soil, and can make their small space bigger. She used tyres to clean out her space and then planted plants in the tyres. Collect/plant/share. She was shown how to plant spinach… to go with pap. Now she shares her spinach and how to grow it. If you get a group pensioners together at site C, they make beautiful things.
- Nomvusi Victoria Botha: “I’ve never gardened before and I am loving it. I’ve neen gardening now for about six months and Nomathemba helped me.” Livingston asked if I wanted another job, and I did. Now she grow plants and human beings, plants are your babies, so we take care of them.
- Nomcqibelo Ebba Dazela: “Where I lives in the Eastern Cape we had a big field, so I knew a little, but not much.” I was asked: “Does your mother want to grow something?”… Yes, I was working alone in my garden, but this is for us. Spinach is just not the same from shoprite.
- Fareda Abrahams: “Starting the training on the first day I was so excited.” Soil… changed her life. She lost her job and suffered from depression but SOIL made her life whole again. It is all the nurturing. When you start your garden, and touch the garden it will change your life. She stopped complaining and got gardening, even at two in the morning she was gardening.