KuhleKudla – A Community Based Enrichment Programme in KZN

Caversham Croft
KuhleKudla is a very special community based enrichment programme in KZN where Susan Pletts turns her deep compassion and understanding for the challenges that face people with few resources, into a powerful commitment to empower others.
It is one of the most meaningful projects I have had the joy of interacting with. To be able to make have money not filtered through the machinery of big business but flowing in a manner that makes sense – from those that have – to those that don’t in exchange for something we are deeply in poverty for in Jozi – untainted fresh produce – is such an honour.
This is the kind of soul that purpose that I see coming out of Midlands producers. Susan Pletts and her daughter Philipa Farley who is bringing you the fantastic quail and quail eggs are very special contributors to the Jozi Real Food Revolution.
This produce comes from some of the most remote and isolated Amakhosi areas in KZN where rural folk have limited access to markets. While their access to markets is poor, they are growing produce traditionally without pesticides or artificial fertilisers in untainted rich soil. This is the type of produce, we just don’t get to see or touch in the cities. Now we can.
Susan Pletts is involved in training hubs of growers across these rural areas, she has funding to get them seed and training and gets growers up to speed on how to farm efficiently and organically and for a market. She then buys the produce from them and sells it us. They get paid directly for their produce so it means that well needed money is getting to these regions where employment is challenging.
Once a hub has been trained, they become a member of the project, are given a membership card and can then grow for the project. Susan can track back produce to a growers hub and get additional training there if need be and ensure that regular audits are done on the villagers to help them with any problems they might have.
Even people with only half an acre can join this project and start receiving an income from growing produce.
Can you just imagine how different a landscape we’d be living in, if this was the norm for agriculture, organised projects buying from hubs made up of small, rural growers growing organically linked to an appreciative market?
Kuhlekudla has a truck which takes in loaves of bread from their bakery into the areas where they are going to collect produce. They sell the bread to the villagers for half the price of what they pay for conventional bread and then collects their produce which she sells to connected markets like us.
This is true rural traditional produce. You won’t find waxed potatoes, you won’t find uniform shapes. You’ll open the packet and smell soil and earth like our grandparents did, you can buy them in pockets and keep them in the pantry and if we get enough demand to make the transport and logistics make sense, it means we can have a regular supply of rural, naturally grown potatoes from a true fair trade project in Johannesburg.
In store now – madumbes, sweet potatoes, hubbard squash, butternut and potatoes.

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