After almost nine years of working together, this co-operative of nine women now operates adjacent to the Manyangana High School in Utah. For the past four years they have been renting a portion of land from the school where they grow quality herbs, vegetables and edible flowers that are sold to local game lodges, a couple of retailers and to their immediate community.
The Thornybush Collection, along with support from a variety of other donating organisations, is helping the co-operative in a number of areas including business strategy, financial and administrative support, sales/marketing efforts, logistics and infrastructure development.
To date we have assisted in increasing their shade cloth covered growing areas, built a washing and packing facility, a cold-storage building with bathrooms and an attached market-type retail facility. In addition, we have facilitated the drilling of a new borehole with storage tanks, fitted rainwater harvesting systems off some of the school buildings, and we fund and cover their general operational costs.
Our intention through this facilitation is that ultimately this garden will grow into a sustainable, self-funding and independent business that is able to sell fresh vegetables to the greater Utah community, in addition to the customers it already serves.
Current and ongoing projects include erecting a palisade fence around the garden to ensure improved security; earthworks to direct and capture more rain water; and the construction of a nursery for seedling production and plant propagation.
Future projects under consideration include:
- A waste management project;
- A composting and effective microorganism program;
- Constructing a rammed earth building for further storage,
- Seed saving and fermentation;
- A recycling depot servicing both the local communities as well as lodges in the area; and
- A possible chicken-farming component.