Green team promotes sustainable living in north Durban

IQABUNGELIHLE Cooperative, a KwaMashu-based small fruit and vegetable business joined the Shoprite and Checkers Market Day initiative at Checkers, Gateway Theatre of Shopping last Thursday.

The initiative, implemented by the retail group, saw 24 gardens participate by selling fresh and organic produce such as herbs, spinach, green pepper, tomato, cabbage, lettuce and green beans.

Sifiso Mhlongo and Lungelo Ndlovu, were two of the five co-op members present at the market day.

“We plant vegetables and herbs but due to our irrigation system malfunctioning we now only grow herbs as it doesn’t require much water,” said Mhlongo.

“We used to plant spinach, beetroot, spring onion, lettuce and brinjal. Now we plant rocket, parsley, rosemary, thyme and coriander,” he explained. iQabungelihle was born in 2017.

“We’ve always had an interest in agriculture, and due to unemployment we decided to start the cooperation,” said Mhlongo.

Translated it means beautiful leaf and is based at Zeph Dhlomo Secondary School.

“The school lets us use their premises. We plan on holding agricultural programmes with the learners at the school,” said Mhlongo.

“We also attend flea markets in Durban North, Musgrave and the I Heart Market at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

He said iQabungelihle appreciated the backing from a corporate giant such as Shoprite and Checkers.

“This is the seventh market day we have participated in and we appreciate being given the platform to sell our fresh produce. We have also been given seedlings and equipment for our gardens,” he said.

Judy Maluleka, CSI manager for the Shoprite Group said market day was first introduced in 2017 to support many community food gardens.

“It provides the gardens with a platform to sell their fresh produce and to promote themselves to a wider customer base. Garden members gain invaluable skills about operating in a formal retail environment and it creates additional income earning opportunities,” she said.

iQabungelihle Cooperation is looking for a sponsorship for an irrigation system.

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