Ikhaya Lo Thando – Home of Love: Grow together and Stop Hunger

Fibertex SA – in association with Grow Veggies and private contributors – has donated various gardening items to the 1000 Hills Community Helpers in Inchanga, KwaZulu-Natal.

This initiative was in response to a request from the Hammarsdale Cato Ridge Development Association (HCRDA) to businesses in the area, to play an active role in uplifting the lives of the local community.

The 1000 Hills Community Helpers (1000hch) is a non-profit association with a community garden that supports its own kitchen to feed over 400 children daily, as well as volunteers, staff and households in need. The community care centre also houses a health and wellness clinic that provides treatment to children and the elderly, a children’s infirmary and a feeding scheme, that provides two nutritious meals a day. There is also a pre-school and creche, a craft shop and skills development facility.

“To assist this vulnerable community with productive vegetable gardening, we have donated over 100 Growbags, compost and seedlings, that will enable smaller households in the area to grow their own vegetables and herbs. Fibertex Growbags, which require no ground digging, are perfect for limited spaces and poor soil conditions,” explains Robyn-Leigh Axford, Project Co-ordinator, Fibertex South Africa, specialists in nonwovens and performance-based materials for use in diverse industries.

“An important advantage of our locally manufactured Growbags is they can be used above and in the ground. And because the fabric of the bag is porous, air can pass through the root zone, which stabilises the temperature to help plants grow quicker and healthier. When plants grown directly in the ground without a Growbag are lifted after a few years, roots can be severely damaged, causing the plant to drop its leaves. These portable Growbags range in size from 25 lt to 200 lt and are tear-resistant, with two strong handles for easy carrying from one position to another, without damaging the plants.

“In plastic plant bags, the roots quickly heat up during the day and cool down at night. This fluctuation in temperature causes stress on the plant, inhibiting growth. The roots of plants grown in a conventional pot grow in circles which restricts water and nutrient intake that hampers natural growth of the plant.”

According to Dawn Leppan, CEO and founder of the 1000 Hills Community Helpers, “This food gardening project has been well received by the community and is a rewarding initiative for those who are now growing seedlings and vegetables in re-usable Growbags. Vegetable gardening encourages a spirit of hope to impoverished families, of responsible food growing and healthy eating. It was Helen Keller who said – Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

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