Pella Food Garden: Making Hope Bloom in the Desert
Members of the all-female Pella Food Garden Cooperative struggled to farm their land for eight years but could not generate enough income to utilize all their land or buy inputs. Pella is located in the Northern Cape of South Africa on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The region’s agriculture sector is dwindling due to worsening climate events, leading to growing food insecurity and unemployment. All the co-op’s members had to rely on government assistance to make ends meet. Today, they are training other subsistence farmers as part of the INMED Aquaponics® Social Enterprise.
Within one year of implementing INMED’s climate-smart farming techniques and aquaponics, the co-op increased its revenue stream sixty-fold and has garnered numerous regional and national awards for their agro-enterprise.
In addition to receiving a commercial-scale aquaponics system and technical training in adaptive agriculture, the Pella Food Garden co-op members learned computer skills, accounting, business planning, marketing and sales via training from INMED and Old Mutual.
Since implementing INMED Aquaponics® in 2017, the cooperative has continued to thrive–despite droughts, floods and swarms of locusts. “INMED Aquaponics® has made a significant difference in our lives and has attracted interest in our project that we’ve never had before,” says co-op leader Esther Nell. “We will continue to grow our business, create more jobs and help others start their own aquaponics farms of the future.”