New book to tell the stories of women food gardeners

Women of Soil- changing lives is being produced to mark the milestones of two organisations founded by women.

With the increasing cost of putting good food on the table, growing your own veggies has never made more sense or been more essential, and this is the catalyst for a book, Women of Soil – changing lives, which is being produced to mark the milestones of two non-profit organisations that were founded by women.

Woman Zone is 10 years old this year and Soil for Life is 20.

Milnerton publicist and chief librarian at Woman Zone, Beryl Eichenberger, says they are raising funds towards the printing costs of the book, but they need an additional R20 000.

Woman Zone founder and trustee of Soil for Life in Constantia, Nancy Richards, of Rosebank, says the book is also a tribute to Soil for Life founder Pat Featherstone, who died last year, and her vision of healthy soil equals healthy food equals healthy people.

Apart from detailing the work of the two organisations, the book also includes the stories of ten of Soil for Life’s women home food gardeners. They give tips and recipes as well as practical information on organic vegetable gardening in small spaces. Natasha de Leeuw is from Retreat; Nasheema Ismail, Nokwekwezi Sitole, Nombulelo Mgogo and Farieda Ryklief are all from Delft; Piennie Johnson is from Pelican Park; Fareda Abrahams is Mitchell’s Plain; and Nomathemba Bakubaku, Niomvusi Botha, and Nomcqibelo ‘Ebba’ Dazela are from Khayelitsha.

Ms Ismail received her first training 20 years ago from Soil for Life and worked as feeding scheme coordinator at Mandela Peace Park Community Centre. Soil for Life taught her how to prepare the ground, start making beds and plant.

In 2014, she started a food garden, and now all of her family are involved and feed 150 to 200 people twice a week. In 2019, she won a water tank as Soil for Life’s Woman Gardener of the Year and Best Community Gardener. In the book, she provides a recipe for a veggie potjie.

The launch of the book is scheduled for Monday August 8 as part of Artscape’s Women’s Humanity Art Festival. But they need sponsorship from individuals or organisations that care about the environment, food security and empowering women. For R1 000 your name will be acknowledged in the book and on publication you will receive a copy.

For more information email or or call 082 490 6652.