Oranjezicht City Farm

I can’t remember how I first heard about Oranjezicht City Farm in Cape Town. I was probably searching online for urban gardens in the city a few years back. It seemed like an impressive project by the looks of the website and Facebook page. So when my husband and I spent a few days in Cape Town in 2014, we decided to check out the farm. I can say as someone who has photographed food gardens in 3 other countries that this was the most remarkable setting in which I’ve ever seen spinach and leeks grow. But then again, Cape Town just has that aura about it, with a gorgeous landscape of mountain and sea sandwiched together. I took another trip to Cape Town in September this year and scheduled a meeting with the farm coordinator, Sheryl Ozinsky.

During my visit to OZCF, I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on a conversation that Ozinsky had with an enthusiastic farm member about developing an urban garden in a neglected space in the Central Business District of Cape Town. Ozinsky said she’s had countless conversations just like this one - somebody sees an empty piece of land and begins to daydream about what can be done to grow food there. I’ll admit I’m guilty of this as well. Before moving to South Africa, I contacted the pastor at my husband’s church and asked what he thought of setting up a community garden on a piece of land that the church owns, but currently isn’t using. The logistical issues quickly became clear and I gave up on that idea and for now focus on growing food in my own backyard, which in itself is enough of a challenge. My husband and I currently live in a South African town called Vereeniging where organic and sustainably produced food is nearly impossible to access. Through Supermarket Separation, I wish to share some of the tips and tricks that I have developed along the way to continue eating a healthy diet in such a place.

For those who live in Johannesburg and Cape Town, access to sustainable food is a little easier. Through Oranjezicht City Farm, Capetonians can enjoy a weekly shopping trip to the farmers market at Granger Bay, by the V & A Waterfront. If I lived there, I'd be a regular at this spot for sure! It's an incredible display of creativity, resourcefulness and community endeavor. I walked through three large tents and passed table after table of uniquely crafted food and beverage. I bought a bag of carrots, a green juice made from spinach, parsley, cucumber, lemon and apple, and a lamb wrap (though could only eat the filling and not the wrap, as I'm gluten intolerant).

The efforts of the Oranjezicht City Farm are remarkable and commendable. They set the bar high aesthetically, creating two welcoming havens through their farm space and market, in a country where a general sense of uncertainty and danger is far too common. You can learn much more about the farm at their website. And for those enthusiastic readers who are interested in following OZCF's example and starting your own initiative, check out some questions to think over while you get started in your planning.