SA: Garden brings life to Joburg concrete jungle

Refiloe Molefe, 61, moves through her farm with the delicate swiftness of someone half her age. She works with a calming efficiency, shifting from harvesting her potatoes to watering cabbages, then to the planting of seedlings, followed by the backbreaking work of harvesting fresh carrots.

“I started the farm because I saw there was a need in my community to have a city where no one goes to bed with an empty stomach,” says Molefe. Situated on a hectare of land in the Johannesburg inner-city neighbourhood of Bertrams, the organic vegetable garden provides affordable, healthy and nutritious food to the surrounding community. 

The lush green of the farm sits in stark contrast to the dull buildings which surround it. It is an oasis inside the dry concrete jungle. “People come from rural areas to Joburg. We leave our open lands and come here and start starving. So, I feel it’s so good to have farms in the CBD. So that we can plant, because there’s not much land here to plant… We need to farm because even if we don’t have other jobs we can still feed our children.”

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