food permaculture sustainability

Tyisa Nabanye – Urban Farm in Cape Town


We are a non-profit urban agriculture organisation growing food on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town, seeking to improve food security, promote sustainable livelihoods and create employment for our members. Tyisa Nabanye, consisting of eight members; Mzu, Lumko, Unathi, Chuma, Lizza, Vuyo, Masi and myself, started a permaculture vegetable garden created out of the voluntary labour or youth living on the site, among whom are two graduates of the Permaculture Design Course at Seed in Mitchell’s Plain. We hold regular markets in which all residents on the site are invited to participate, and in this way have had a significant effect on raising hope and a sense of appreciation for our beautiful setting.


To know more about the project and how you can help, contact Catherine Nicks (Project Manager) on 072 601 1013.

food garden permaculture sustainability



We are a brand new NPO in Durban called G.E.E.K2! which stands for Green Education Equals Knowledge and Knowhow! We go in to underpriveledged areas and educate the youths about sustainability and conservation concerns. We have just been allocated a little bit of money and want to use it towards sustainable vegetable gardens. I am looking for anyone who knows about teaching permaculture to contact me about teaching the youths about the permaculture principles and to show them how to set up a permaculture veggie garden. This information could be used at their homes as well which will benefit many people beyond the scope of the schools! If you can help please e-mail me on : or phone me on 0769160218. Thank you so much!!!!

food garden permaculture

A Well (G)rounded School

The Creating Schools Programme adopts a holistic approach to education, focusing not only on the development of the learners in the schools, but also on the advancement of the community as a whole. The food garden at Vele Secondary School is a great example of how a school can form the nucleus of a community, bringing residents together, and helping to educate and sustain both the leaners, and the community as a whole. David Ramabulana is one of three community members who were originally selected to care for the permaculture food garden at Vele. David’s story and his devotion to the school garden, and to the process of permaculture gardening, is truly inspiring!

Due to unfortunate circumstances David had to drop out of a degree in Applied Mathematics in his third year, and was tending to the garden when he came to the attention of one of the trustees. He was asked to join the school’s staff as a computer administrator, and very soon became an expert in hardware and software, using Cami and Autograph to teach the learners Maths. David now assists the Maths Teacher, and holds lessons in the afternoon and before school. The Creating Schools Trust have offered him a bursary to complete his degree, and it has been agreed that David will train local unemployed villagers, who have an interest and an aptitude for computers, so that there will be somebody to carry on with his good work once he’s gone.

Despite a return to the classroom, David has maintained his interest in the permaculture garden. Below are some of the highlights from a recent report that David wrote on the garden:

The beauty of the food garden at Vele Secondary School is that it’s surrounded by Comfrey, which acts as mulch and provides nitrogen and magnesium to other crops. You can use comfrey to help mend broken bones.Vetiver acts as a windbreaker, helps to prevent flooding in the garden by creating a barrier and can also be used as mulch. Vele food garden produces beetroot, carrots, mustard, spinach, cabbage, onion, butternut, muxe (for Venda people), chillies and brinjal, amongst other things. The crops act as a test, and we continue to produce the crops which teachers, learners and the community like the most, and which grow the best. During the harvest we keep the seeds to avoid having to buy more seeds. We sell the crops to everyone who needs it. The cost starts at 50 cents and goes up to R1.50 for the root family (carrot, beetroot, garlic), and R10 for the leaf/cabbage family (spinach, muxe, cabbage, kale, mustard). The school also feeds the learners with the vegetables from the garden. We recently attended a workshop in the Mutale district on Sustainable Food Production. I told them what I knew about permaculture because they rely on chemical pest control and chemical manure. At Vele we use organic pest control and feed crops with compost or earthworm tea. We use the the money that we make from the food garden to buy seeds that we don’t already have, to pay for transport if there’s a meeting far away, and to buy gardening equipment and petrol for the lawnmower which we use to create mulch. We have formed a committee to look after the food garden, and are now ready to enter any competitions about gardening.

Viva Vele Secondary School food garden! Viva!

Source: Creating Schools

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Permaculture Food Garden Workshops in Durban

Join us for informative, hands-on workshops on implementing permaculture into your garden and homesite. We look at soil mainatenance, water harvesting, bio-pesticides and so much more in these different courses. Designed for educators, parents, and anyone else interested in growing your own!

Dates: 7 September, 5 October, 2 November

Venue: The Birches Per-Primary School, 1 Oribi Rd, Sarnia, Durban

Cost: R210 pp

Find more info on our website –, or on Facebook page.

food permaculture

How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank

This is an inspiring story from the States. South Africa, take note!

Despite the cold and snow, some signs of spring are starting to break through in Colorado. The public library in the small town of Basalt is trying an experiment: In addition to borrowing books, residents can now check out seeds.

In a corner of the library, Stephanie Syson and her 4-year-old daughter, Gray, are just finishing a book with a white rabbit on the cover.

When Gray approaches the knee-high shelves filled with seed packets, she zeroes in on a pack labeled “rainbow carrots.”

“We just read two books with bunnies in them, so we’ve got bunnies on the brain,” Syson says.

Syson flips through a wicker bin labeled “carrots” and offers other varieties to Gray, like “atomic red” and “cosmic purple.”

Here’s how it works: A library card gets you a packet of seeds. You then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds from the biggest and best, and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.

The seed library is a partnership between the Basalt Public Library and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Seed packets encourage gardeners to write their names and take credit for their harvested seeds.
The seed library is a partnership between the Basalt Public Library and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Seed packets encourage gardeners to write their names and take credit for their harvested seeds.

Syson says tending a garden in Western Colorado can be frustrating. The dry climate, alkaline soils and short growing season keep many novices from starting. She’ll take seeds from the plants that withstand pests and persevere through drought.

“If you save seed from those plants, already, in one generation, you will now be able to grow a plant that has those traits,” Syson says.

The seed packets are a novelty within the library’s more mainstream collection of books, CDs and DVDs.

The library’s director, Barbara Milnor, says in the age of digital, downloadable books and magazines, the tangible seed packets are another way to draw people in.

“You have to be fleet of foot if you’re going to stay relevant, and that’s what the big problem is with a lot of libraries, is relevancy,” she says.

Milnor says that while a library may seem like an odd location for a project like this, seeds and plants should be open to everyone. That makes a public library the perfect home for a seed collection. The American Library Association says there are at least a dozen similar programs throughout the country.

Back at the front desk, Syson and Gray place the rainbow carrot seed packets on the counter.

Syson says the library has always been a place for her daughter to learn. The seeds just add another lesson.

“For her to see a little pot of dirt and to plant a seed into it, and then 30 days later being able to eat something from it is really exciting for her,” she says. “She really enjoys seeing that whole process.”

A process that now includes a trip to the local library.

Source: NPR The Salt