BBL PARTICIPANT: Martha Rametsi, One&Ten Community, Northwest Province
In a Nutshell
Through her participation in SocioTech’s Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) strategies to stimulate personal economic activity, Martha Rametsi from One&Ten Community in Northwest Province has turned into a passionate vegetable grower, and loves adding value to her harvested crops through processing delicious foods.
I first heard about the SocioTech and Sukuma training through a loudspeaker. From what I know, the traditional leadership in this area met with people from those organisations and decided to support their work. So, a car drove around the streets inviting us all to come to a community information session. I went to hear what it was all about.
I was already gardening in a very small strip at the back of my house along the edge of my fence, but what I learnt that day, changed my life. It was February 2023 – which sounds so recent – but so much has happened since then that it feels like it was a lot longer ago.
I have always eaten vegetables but not in the way I do now. Since learning about The Food Robot, I use it every day to guide my food choices. Eating The Food Robot way has improved my health in so many ways. I get the orange vegetables I need from my beautiful pumpkins and carrots. Green comes from my spinach or beans, and beetroots are my regular source of red vegetables. Even out of season, I always have a good supply of Food Robot colours because I pickle the beetroots I grow and dry morogo wa dinawa (bean leaves).
"I find that these days I am more excited by farming than I am by cooking. I love it."
I have an orange tree in my garden, up until now we have only eaten them fresh or squeezed them for juice but next season, I am thinking about making marmalade too. SocioTech has taught us how to make lemonade and lemon marmalade, but I am looking for a good orange marmalade recipe.
I find that these days I am more excited by farming than I am by cooking. I love it. Planting, then working and harvesting, gives me a lot of pleasure. Especially since the SocioTech Vegetable Tunnel came. Before the tunnel I had a big problem with wild birds and my neighbour’s chickens. If I compare the plants inside and outside the tunnel, it is easy to see that the ones inside are bigger, greener, and stronger. In some cases, the difference is very extreme – look at this strawberry patch next to my orange tree – those bad birds have eaten every strawberry!
My children have all grown up and they live in their own homes, but every time they come to visit me, I feed them with food from my yard. There is no greater love than the feeling a mother gets when she sees her own children eating healthy food. It doesn’t matter if your child is 5 or 50 years old, that feeling of joy in seeing your child well-nourished remains. It is a good thing that mothers feel that way because when my children come to visit, they collect up so many vegetables to take home. In terms of the effect that they have on my garden, they are worse than the birds!
I like to cook when my children are here, but when they are gone, I often don’t feel like cooking. Sometimes I just pick fresh, juicy carrots straight from my garden and eat them raw. That is so delicious and so healthy. And it requires no cooking.
" Sometimes I just pick fresh, juicy carrots straight from my garden and eat them raw."
I plan to expand the amount of land I am cultivating, and I hope to add some traditional vegetables to my crops. When I was a child, my parents grew leraka gourd and I love that simple but delicious taste – just boiled, eaten in the shell like a gem squash with a sprinkling of salt and/or sugar.
Those traditional plants need less water than the newer ones, which is important because water is a problem. When Nelson Mandela was first President, he came to our area, and he promised us piped water and we were so pleased when the water came, because up until then we were using boreholes. That was a wonderful thing but since then, a lot of new houses were built in this area, and I think the new water infrastructure they put in is struggling to cope. There seem to be leaks and the pressure is very weak. Especially here in the higher areas where I live. Water goes on and off.
Even with the water problems, my garden is doing well. I tell people that they must go to the SocioTech training, listen to the instructions, and follow them. Do that and success is guaranteed.