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Soil for Life


What do you do when you have barely enough money to buy your own food? You start growing it yourself. This is the idea behind Soil for Life, an organization that teaches and trains people in South African Townships to grow their own fruit and vegetables in whatever space is available. 


Soil for Life educates and trains people in organic food gardening. The low-cost methods they teach enable gardeners to harvest large amounts of vegetables, fruit and herbs from small spaces using very little water and no harmful chemicals. As part of their activities, Soil for Life sets up Food Growing Enterprises in the communities they work in. That means opportunities for the most committed of the home gardeners to create work and income for themselves.


The method of Soil for Life is working side by side with people in Township communities in Cape Town. There they run hands-on practical training courses and provide ongoing support in:

● small-scale organic food and herb production;

● soil improvement methods;

● waste recycling;

● health and nutrition;

● nursery skills and plant propagation;

● food processing and preserving;

● setting up local markets and running small businesses.


The initiative started in 2010 and in 2012 Soil for Life started a train-the-trainer program. This program teaches home gardeners, who have shown commitment and promise, how to teach and support others in the community. It is a training program entailing intensive training, observation, practice and further learning.


Soil for Life runs a garden shop where people can buy food and the necessary materials to start their own garden. Soil for Life provides a wide range of helpful items such as tire planters, vertical planters, bug houses and more. In the garden shop also home-made chutneys and jams, healthy food supplements as well as eco-friendly beauty and household products can be found.


Soil for Life also has a multi-purpose training centre that can be used for meetings, workshop, trainings and conferences.


Soil for Life is working with a team of ten permanent employees, three part-time staff, four volunteers and eight stipend-paid assistant trainers. The organization is steadily growing by the principle of paying it forward: “Each day we teach others, and each day we inspire someone with knowledge that they can use. They in turn can then inspire others, and that’s how we build a growing network.”


On the website you can find many inspirational stories and videos of people who changed barren spaces to food producing vegetable beds, which are used to feed themselves and their families all year round.






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Type of initiative Information/network organization
Field of work Agriculture
Date of commencement 2010
Founder(s) Pat Featherstone and Jo Fuller
Legal form non-profit
Continent Africa
Country Zuid Afrika
City Kaapstad (Constantia)
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Home garden, poverty reduction, organic food gardening
Publications Video, interviews
More information

Contact person(s)

Jo Fuller


Contact information

Name Soil for Life
Address Stables Lane, off Brounger Way
Zip/postal code 7800
Place Constantia Cape Town
State/province Western Cape
Country South Africa
Phone +27 (0)21 794 49 82



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