Sustainable living for Lavender Hill

Hillwood Primary school pupils helped start the Growth Garden for Peace project.

A garden project at Hillwood Primary School that was launched earlier this month is set to bring some revival to the Lavender Hill community’s economy and create employment opportunities.

Cafda resident Rui Alex Solomons started the Growth Garden for Peace project with the help of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), an international NPO founded by actor and social activist Forest Whitaker. His mission is to help societies impacted by destructive conflicts and gang violence and the aim of the WPDI is to transform such neighbourhoods into safer and more-prosperous communities.

When Mr Solomons won money in a proposal competition, he approached Hillwood Primary School to use the grounds for gardening with the hope of creating employment and promoting sustainable living.

Pupils at the school assisted Mr Solomons and his wife Shandre and to date they’ve planted potatoes, cabbage, carrots, spinach, parsley and broccoli with the hope of planting much more on the piece of land the school has made available.

Shandre Solomons helps plant potatoes.

“With the funding I won in the competition we were able to buy seedlings, manure, compost, mulch and top layer for the 12 by eight metre space.

“The plan is to harvest the next three months and to sell what we’ve harvested and reinvest to plant again so that we can eventually have a seasonal variety of items,” said Mr Solomons. They also want to donate some of the produce to feed the school and community.

Pupils from the school offered their help during the July school holidays by digging, planting and keeping the garden in shape but the project hopes to employ seniors with green fingers to assist with the upkeep of the garden.

The garden project will create employment and be a sustainable food source.

“This way we have people with experience and we’ll be able to assist some of the elder Lavender Hill community to earn an income and it won’t stop there because when we are able to grow the project, we can create more job opportunities. So it is a long-term plan to train people and eventually they will then start their own garden projects.”

But, for the project to continue and be successful, the group needs more funding to buy, or donations of equipment such as poles, netting to cover the garden as well as tools.

If you can help, call Rui Alex Solomon on 078 125 5268 or visit the Growth Garden for Peace page on Facebook.