Soil for Life, a public benefit organisation founded in 2002 by Pat Featherstone, is on a mission to teach people how to grow their own food, improve their health and well-being, and nurture and protect the environment.

At the heart of Soil for Life’s work is the belief that everyone, regardless of resources, possesses the potential to cultivate nutritious food.

Over the years, the organisation has empowered over 7 600 individuals in resource-poor communities with the knowledge and skills to develop and sustain productive home and community food gardens.

The approach is simple yet impactful. Soil for Life provides training and support to both individuals and groups of gardeners involved in school and community food-growing projects. Central to their gardening methods is the focus on building healthy, fertile soil teeming with microbial life.

Image credit: Soil for Life

These practices ensure high yields of the best quality food, even from the smallest of spaces. Gardeners are taught how to sustain their gardens with little or no money, learning to produce their own future garden inputs like seeds, seedlings and compost.

Picture: Soil for Life

Beyond gardening and food, Soil for Life’s impact transcends boundaries. They emphasise the importance of promoting community networks between gardeners, encouraging avenues for selling and bartering produce from the garden and creating support systems within communities.

Their work goes beyond cultivating crops; it’s about ‘growing’ whole people, nurturing creativity and resourcefulness. The organisation empowers individuals to help themselves on various fronts, from economic independence to improving values and creating healthier families, ultimately fostering goodwill within their communities.

Soil for Life’s vision is clear – a healthy world where people work in harmony to build healthy soils, grow nutritious food and heal the planet. Their mission is to equip individuals with the knowledge and tools to create sustainable food gardens that foster healthy, fertile soils and promote maximum production of nutrient-rich crops in any available space.

Image credit: Soil for Life

Amid an environmental crisis that impacts the health of our planet and its inhabitants, Soil for Life addresses a critical aspect: food insecurity. Many resource-poor communities face challenges with limited access to nutritious food due to the inability to buy it and the poor quality soil in which it is grown.

Soil pollution and environmental degradation exacerbate the problem. Soil for Life’s hope lies in re-establishing harmony between the earth and its people, promoting a healthier, more sustainable world for generations to come.

As Soil for Life continues to sow seeds of change and nurture resilient communities, its dedication to growing healthy soil, people and communities remain steadfast.


Support #MandelaDay2023 by planting a tree

Originally published by Jules Keohane for Cape{town} etc.

Featured image: Unsplash