“How did every revolution in history start?” asks Philipa Farley, “with hungry people.”
When the minimum wage for farm staff was increased last year, Philipa and her mom, Susan, decided they had to act. “We knew that people would be retrenched creating more unemployment and, of course, hunger.” That is exactly what happened. However for the 18 people employed by Caversham Croft and the many others involved in their bread and veggie projects, life has probably improved. Their mission is to create jobs, stimulate entrepreneurship and at the same time to provide better quality food at a reasonable cost.
At the bakery in Caversham, 10 000 loaves of bread are produced weekly. While commercial flour is used to keep the costs down, no artificial additives like ‘softeners’ or preservatives are included. The bread is delivered to townships and rural areas to be resold, earning the sellers an easy income as sliced bread is a popular food choice. Caversham Croft have experimented with different loaves but settled on a regular looking square loaf with recognisable packaging.
Assistant Nolwazi Zwane, laughs “The grandmothers were so cross and told us that the bread must be square when we took them some with more rounded tops!”
To make the best use of the resources used to deliver the bread, the vans do not return empty. They load up with veggies grown on small plots and bring it into Howick to their shop Kuhle Kudla to sell. Here you will find orange sweet potatoes, this season’s harvest of dried beans, big blue pumpkins, free range eggs, swiss chard, bright chillies and peppers and, of course, the bread.
Good fresh food at a very affordable price. On the first day they opened over 100 customers popped in and now the shop buzzes continually as the word spreads.
Debonairs Pizza (right next door) has already started buying their green peppers as they are a third of the price they usually pay. This delights Philipa “We have to keep our money circulating in our communities; we need to get back to village economics, to keep things local.” She firmly believes that everyone needs to know who grows their food and where it comes from. “If we build relationships and care enough about one another we can probably help eradicate crime.” Of course, with less food miles, the vegetables are more nutritious too.
Philipa is so excited about all the opportunities there are in South Africa and is bursting with ideas for new products. In the pipeline is madumbi bread, a really authentic mielie bread and an old fashioned health loaf with stoneground flour and free range eggs. “I also want to grow asparagus and vanilla and plant living fences.” She is obviously having the most wonderful time. “What is the point of being alive if you are not going to have fun and help people?” she concludes. Philipa is changing the world – one happy, healthy lunch at a time.
Do visit them opposite Standard Bank in Main Street. Check out: www.cavershamcroft.co.za facebook.com/TheCavershamCroft