Justin Bonello, host of Okuhle Media’s The Ultimate Braai Master and co-founder of Okuhle Media subsidiary, Cooked in Africa Films has packed away his braai tongs (temporarily) and picked up his spade (permanently) to bring organic farming and community garden markets to schools in Cape Town’s south peninsula with his Neighbourhood Farm initiative that focus’s on growing food, minds and community.
It’s an idea that was born from a conversation the bush cook and creative director had 4 years ago in his greenhouse and which has now come to fruition with the first market garden site at Kommetjie Primary School celebrating its first harvest in May of this year. There are 10 more schools and one hospital – stretching all the way from Kommetjie to Muizenberg – that Neighbourhood Farm has partnered with to establish urban farming sites, complete with outdoor classrooms and permaculture gardens. And when each of these are up and running, they will give over 15 000 students and 100 000 community members access to nutritious, organically-grown produce and edible education.
But there’s more to it than just growing a few beans and potatoes. These Neighbourhood Farms will also teach children about growing their own food in a sustainable manner that works with the Earth, not against it. And to ensure that they are completely self-sufficient, each farm generates a small income from selling nutrient dense produce to the surrounding community, thus creating employment opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurship and skills development within the community.
As one of Okuhle Media’s own, we couldn’t be prouder to call Justin family. Through Neighbourhood Farm, he and his amazing team have the potential to revolutionise the way communities think about their food and encourage us all to be more aware of where our food is coming from and what’s actually in it.
And in a world that’s increasingly facing food scarcity problems and has become disconnected from how food is and should be grown, Neighbourhood Farm is a great way to start building a food secure future for all of us.