In October we celebrate our teachers and educators who work tirelessly to ensure that our children and young people get the very best start in life. Unified Scout Group Scouter Tebogo Rakgabyane, his Scouts, Rovers and Committee Members decided to thank their local teachers and staff at the Kwa Thema Creche in the Kwatsaduza Community and gave them some freshly harvested spinach from their Group’s Agri-Scout Project.
“Through giving you create abundance”, says Tebogo cheerfully. “It is much better to give first to those who need, before you decide to sell your produce.” In 2022 Tebogo embarked on his Rover Woodbadge training, which is one of Scouting’s most formidable Adult Leader Training courses. To obtain his “ticket” he needed to identify and implement a legacy project that would be sustainable whilst having a real impact on the children and community he serves. “We had just signed a 99 -year lease for a property over 4860 m2. I knew when I looked around that I wanted to use it for good. I wanted to do something that had not been done before. When I realized that no one was implementing an “Agri-Scout Project”, I had my project and my purpose for the years ahead” he explains.
“As the ground was so big we identified a portion to use for agriculture. The rest is being used to run our Scout programmes and in future we plan on putting in an office container where we can do most of our admin work and planning from. When we opened in May of 2022, I knew I wanted to develop an initiative where Rovers could engage in agriculture and use the grounds to implement their Rover Service Projects. But once we started, I remembered that SCOUTS South Africa has a Food-for-Life Programme and so we also opened it up to Meerkats, Cubs, and Scouts. In fact, we have four greenhouses on the property, one for each branch”, continues Tebogo.
“Since we started last year, we have been planting winter and summer vegetables. We have harvested potatoes, cabbages, and lots of luscious spinach. We asked the creche how many teachers and staff they had and made sure that we had two big bunches of spinach for all 35 people at the school. Once we had handed out the spinach, we realized we had lots more, and so started going door-to-door to share our spinach with people living in the 20 homes between our Scout grounds and the creche. A local church member was surprised that we were just giving away all this beautiful spinach and that we were not selling it. We tried to explain that we all felt fulfilled after being able to give people some healthy and freshly harvested spinach that we had grown ourselves. For some people this was a real treat as vegetables are expensive these days. The community members really didn’t expect it and so it was nice a surprise for them.
Since we started the Agri-Scout Project we have also been able to recruit new Adult Volunteers. People come in and ask to help us in the vegetable garden. Once we have them hooked on the Agri-Scout Project, we sell the product that is Scouting to them”, quips Tebogo!
“The nice thing about this project is that its lifespan extends past my Woodbadge. It is an initiative that can grow and sustain itself for as long as we have the property. We are already looking to expand our reach through a project we will be calling “Adopt-a-House”. The idea is for our Scouts to adopt a house in the two adjacent streets and help the residents establish food gardens at their homes. We also plan to expand our vegetable offerings by planting more seeds and inviting children from local schools to learn all about composting and about establishing their own gardens.” When asked what they need to make these big dreams a reality, Tebogo doesn’t miss a beat! “We need seeds and equipment like spades, garden forks, a hoe, grass slashers or even a trimmer or a lawn mower”, he says. “Together we can teach children and the youth a skill that can help them produce their own food, and simultaneously sow into other people’s lives.”