Training

Working and Learning in Suburban and Village Soil

Tania Philips and Franklin Joy are two of the young people who joined the first Agri-Camp in October 2019 to determine whether a career in Agriculture could be theirs to explore. Since then they have both, together with four more students, had different and valuable experiences in research and communicating with farmers and farming communities in various parts of South Africa.

Almost a year later they are two of the six remaining students who will starting a Diploma in Agriculture commencing 2021.

The community of Haarlem, where Tania lives,  opened their hearts to her upon hearing of her ambitions as a farmer and agriculturalist. A community member availed a small office space for her and also availed 500sqm for her to conduct a small-scale farming operation. Learning Academy Worldwide, the Swedish-based NGO who leads the Vocational Training in Agriculture program, funds the costs for seeds and the nominal rental of the space for Tania’s office and the small field.

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In Conville, a small suburb close to George and some 130km away from Haarlem, the young Franklin Joy and his grandfather’s garden is a picture of what can be done in a  suburban garden. Urban or suburban gardening is nothing new, but it is a healthy development when generations connect around agribusinesses with young people in the mix, so to speak. Franklin is in fact a prolific dancer and has a great love for music. This is different for him. His grandfather knows it but carefully and kindly come alongside the young man without a condemning word or thought.

Nourishing some 80 heads of cabbage, 33 beetroot plants and 42 onion plants and 24 carrots, Franklin tries to keep track of some of the produce that have not done so well in order to both sharpen his research skills within agriculture and begin to think of solutions for the deficiencies in the soil, irrigation complexities and the identifying of pests and disease carriers.

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