Scene One: Meeting with Jonno

After meeting Jonno briefly on our tour through Oude Molen, we realized he was very knowledgeable about gardening from more of a business perspective. The garden he runs in Oude Molen, Food Garden Village, is a sustainable training garden that Jonno started about 10 years ago. This knowledge will be useful when planning for a garden in MGV, so we arranged a meeting with Jonno.

Cast of Characters

Pathway team member Shahbaz conversing with Jonno

Jonno, who is originally from England, is a retired teacher and resident of Oude Molen. He was the main point of contact for this meeting and shared information on the background of the garden and the way in which it functions.







The following are some questions we hoped to answer during our meeting with Jonno:

  • What are some expenses in maintaining the garden?
  • How many workers are needed to maintain a garden of this size? Where do they come from?  How are they paid?
  • Is there an education plan for the garden outside of the training that is done with the Green Light Project?  Do schools visit the garden?
  • How did this relationship with Pick n Pay form?
  • Do you think there is enough land in MGV to sustain a food garden?
    • What resources would they need?
    • How much money?
  • What is included in this training?  How much of it is geared toward food production?
  • What resources are needed for this training? Supplies?  Money?
  • Would this be something to continue in the future for MGV?

We arrived in Food Garden Village in Oude Molen a little bit ahead of schedule, and were able to look around the garden briefly before going inside to wait for Jonno. The meeting took place in the building inside Food Garden Village where is used as a small office to keep the garden organized and to use for training sessions. When Jonno arrived, he asked us what our intentions were for the meeting, and then we began discussing the garden. He told us how he started the garden after a few children saw him gardening and began to plant things of their own. As he began to talk about the logistics of obtaining the plot of land and cleaning the soil, we began asking questions. Some of the questions were prepared, while others stemmed from something Jonno said that sparked our interest. We talked through a lot of the logistical aspects of running the garden, including funding and help. Jonno told us that the training garden piece of Food Garden Village is partially funded by Food Basket for Africa, since they find it beneficial to teach children and other community members good gardening practices. We learned that the garden is sustainable from sharing the profits of the garden, and Jonno hires a few teenagers to help with the maintenance of the garden. Jonno also told us that although the garden is able to sustain itself in terms of cost, he used money out of his own pocket in the beginning (and occasionally now) to keep things afloat.

Team meeting inside the training room of Food Garden Village

In addition, we learned that Jonno was very supportive of a community garden in MGV, and was interested in working with community gardeners there. He noted that things in MGV wouldn’t be exactly analogous to the set-up of Food Garden Village, but that there was good potential since there is enthusiasm present throughout the community.

Once our meeting was over, we went outside to take a closer look at the garden. We saw many different types of plants, and Jonno also told us who is gardening in which sections. They are also developing a system to catch rainwater to use in the garden, so Jonno explained how that will work as well. After leaving the garden, we headed to the Millstone Café to try it out before our sponsor meeting in the afternoon.

Reflection and Learning
Our meeting with Jonno was very insightful and helped us learn the finer details of running a garden. We all had at least some basic gardening knowledge, but were not familiar with the start-up and upkeep of a garden. Jonno’s knowledge about creating a sustainable garden was very relevant to what we would like to see happen in MGV. Since MGV and Oude Molen are adjacent to each other, it is likely that they will face similar issues with the soil, bugs, and animals. The funding for a community garden will also be something to consider carefully; we can’t assume that there are people in MGV will be as willing as Jonno to pay out of pocket for things from time to time. Beside logistics, we talked at length about the impacts this could have on MGV. The benefits include additional food for their families, a source of recreation, and pride in restoring the gardens of MGV; however, one of the biggest topics Jonno talked about us was creating a garden that makes people feel empowered. It was an idea in the back of our minds, but now that we are giving it more attention, we realize how integral this simple idea will be in creating a successful and sustainable garden.

Plans for future scenes

  • Meet with Crispin to look at maps and property owners for land in the MGV and Oude Molen area.
  • Work on business strategies with respect to gardening.
  • Work on connecting Jonno and the Green Light Project