Growing Food, Growing People

Somerset west Village Garden

A community project to grow and provide vegetables for the homeless and unemployed people of Somerset West.

Harvest DayGet Involved

About Our Garden

Somerset West Village Garden was established in 2015 on a derelict park.
Now this thriving, neat, working garden offers work to the unemployed and homeless in exchange for tokens which can be used for food, clothing and assistance.
The fresh, organic vegetables are sold at the weekly market and donated to the Helderberg Street People’s Centre for their feeding scheme.

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Every Tuesday 9am -11am is Harvest Day!

On the Harvest Day Table this week

See our Facebook Feed for what’s available weekly

Come rain or shine

41 New Street

(corner of New & Drama Streets)

Somerset West

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+27 (0)82-901 2636

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Growing food – Growing people

By encouraging the homeless to get involved with the Somerset West Village Garden and other projects run by the Helderberg Street People’s Centre, they are offered a “hand up” rather than a “handout”, with access to nutrition, care and vital resources.

Our Produce

The vegetables that we grow supply the Helderberg Street People’s Centre feeding scheme and are also available to the public to purchase at our weekly harvest days.

We pride ourselves on growing organic, seasonal produce that is affordable and delicious, and the methods we use are sustainable and ecologically friendly – resulting in the added bonus that diverse fauna have returned to the park.

Tokens Earned

%

Organic

Meals Provided

Success Stories

Brian Botha

Brian retired from his job as the janitor and handyman at St Paul’s Catholic Church two years ago. We have managed to find Brian accommodation with the Helderberg Society for the Aged’s where he has settled down very well. He says that after five years of sleeping on the floor in a relative’s home he is so happy to have his own space with a comfortable bed and a roof over his head at night.

He says, “I work in the garden because I don’t want to sit around doing nothing. I love planting the seeds and seedlings, and find it very rewarding to see how the vegetables grow and produce if they are looked after properly.”

Hennie Paulse

Hennie found himself on the streets after he lost his job six months ago. He built our vine baskets and enjoys building the structures for growing the beans.

He says, “I have a problem with alcohol abuse and find that working in the garden helps keep me busy – and then I don’t feel tempted to drink. My advice to other street people is to come and join me in the garden, to start the path to recovery.”

Oliver Fortune

Oliver spent 18 months in the garden using the plant expertise that he learnt from his father while growing up. He is a master compost maker and helped with the daily running of the garden.

Oliver has left us to concentrate on his ethnic clothing business, Ollie’s Clothes. Look out for him at various markets in Somerset West and Cape Town this summer.

Patrick Williams

Patrick has volunteered at the garden for the past year. He has managed to find a weekly gardening job, which meant that he could move out of the Somerset West Night Shelter and into his own rented space.

He is a good worker and we are confident that he will find additional employment soon.

6 Gardeners

Six of our volunteers were offered a three-month contract in the construction industry, with the possibility of further employment.

They were required to possess a SARS number, a medical clearance certificate and an ID – time-consuming processes at the best of times, and especially difficult when one’s access to information and finances is hindered.

Thankfully, Vanessa Willis-Schoeman from the Helderberg Street People's Centre spent time with the gardeners helping to get them set up for the job.

The Garden is Home to

Local fauna has proved a rewarding byproduct of greening the urban space, and it has been amazing to see how this neglected piece of land has literally come to life over two years:

  • A chameleon first showed up in the tomato bed, and now pops up every so often in the beans or artichokes
  • The ubiquitous hadedas, Egyptian geese and guinea fowl have gradually been replaced by double collared sunbirds, sparrows, wagtails, prinias and spotted thick-knees (dikkops).
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COMPOST HEAP

A compost heap that feeds the entire garden and makes a remarkable improvement to the quality of our organic vegetables – thanks to the expertise of Tossie van Tonder

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OWL HOUSE

Installed by Chris Bester (our very own MacGyver) – two eagle owls have been spotted in the vicinity and we’re hoping they’ll move in soon

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SHADE HOUSE

Doubling as a shelter for our gardeners.

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INSECT HOTEL

Again built by Chris Bester, which will hopefully attract the masses of ladybirds currently living in the artichoke bed

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WATER TANKS

Three 5000L water tanks donated by the Sanctimonia Group, again installed with the help of Chris Bester.

Spinach Beds

Volunteers at Harvest Day

Harvest Day Table

Garden Flowers

Gardeners

Our PARTNERS

Helderberg Street People Centre

Has implemented programmes whereby street people can work in exchange for tokens which they can use for meals, ID books, clothing, toiletries and showers.

Somerset West Night Shelter

The Somerset West Night Shelter serves the homeless community by providing secure overnight sleeping, evening meals and breakfast, and ablution facilities with warm showers. They also offer social work services and administrative support, and host workshops on pertinent issues

Circular Homes

Circular Homes closes the loop on kitchen and garden waste – through composting. They supply quality and affordable compostable and earth-friendly products for homes, and also receive donations of fermented kitchen waste from the public. Their vision is to convert the compost and soil into bee-friendly flower parks and community vegetable gardens.

Our Latest Seasonal Recipes

Fennel and Orange Salad

FENNEL AND ORANGE SALAD 2 Bulbs Fennel Bulbs1½ Oranges½ Juice of one LemonOlive Oil (Extra Virgin)Salt and freshly ground black pepper Cut off the tops of the fennel bulbs and slice thinly into rings. Place into a large bowl.Cut away the skin and pith from one orange...

Broccoli and Kale Mac Cheese

BROCCOLI & KALE MAC CHEESE 1/2 Bunch Kale1 Small Broccoli300 g Macaroni Pasta1 tbsp Butter1 tbsp Flour250 ml Milk1 Cup Strong Cheddar Cheese or Gorgonzola (Grated) Boil the pasta for 10 minute and drain.Chop kale, break broccoli into florets and steam until...

Pak Choi and Noodle Soup

PAK CHOI & NOODLE SOUP 1 Litre Chicken Stock1 tsp Fresh Root Ginger (Finely chopped)1 small Red Chilli (de-seeded and chopped finely)1/2 Juice of one Lime (Squeezed)1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce50 g Chestnut Mushrooms2 Pak Choi heads or leaves150 g Egg Noodles (Thin)A...

A special thank you to our sponsors

We are enormously grateful to our sponsor and partners, without whom we would be unable to continue.

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