Campaign aims at 100 gardens for Old Naledi

  • #greenthumb has a gardening mission for the neighbourhood on World Food Day
  • Abiding ambition is a food sufficient Botswana


“Bana ba motho ba kgaogana tlhogo ya ntsi,” the Setswana adage that emphasises sharing even when there is only little, is the slogan of a food security campaign, #greenthumb, that is currently appealing to sponsors to help fund them turn their dream into reality.

The campaign, which is rolling out the Old Naledi Food Drive, has a seed donation exercise and gardening mission day scheduled for 16 October 2020, which is World Food Day. The target is to set up 100 gardens in the Gaborone’s Old Naledi neighbourhood.

“The movement aims to resuscitate the culture of maintaining home gardens,” says the founder of the movement, Peo Sebotho.

“We believe that everyone deserves a decent meal and we want to see a food sufficient Botswana one day, one neighbourhood at a time.

“Volunteers on the day will include members of the public and some of Botswana’s high profile personages assisting to create these gardens to help feed identified homes in the township of Old Naledi.”

Inspired by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada in the US while on a Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2017, Sebotho started a passion project called The Old Naledi Food Drive that has seen over 1000 people benefit from it. But this is only 4 percent of the township’s population, hence Sebotho’s aim for a more comprehensive and sustainable solution to the issue of food insecurity in Old Naledi that has evolved into a backyard gardening project in one aspect.

In the wake of COVID-19 that has threatened delivery of vital foods from neighbouring South Africa, the #greenthumb campaign was launched on Facebook on 5 May, early into the country’s first nationwide lockdown. The campaign runs mainly on Facebook and encourages people to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs at home, taking advantage of the backyard space that most homes have. The #greenthumb campaign provides online gardening tips through Facebook videos on Rabbie’s World Farm page that is tailor-made for Botswana’s climate.

The campaign initially intended to set up 20 gardens but involvement of Lea Grace, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, has seen the target grow to 100 gardens. “We have joined forces to help raise more funds for seeds, gardening tools, weather nets and water tanks because not all Old Naledi yards have running water and still use communal standpipes,” Sebotho explains. “The campaign also intends to acquire water tanks and placing them at the Community Administration Office for residents to have access to the water for the gardens.”

The #greenthumb campaign has ran gardening challenges in three Facebook groups, namely Foodies Botswana, Maun Food and Market, and The Kanye Bulletin. “We have set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ account to raise $15 000 as we still need to buy gardening tools and more seeds,” she says. “So far we have raised only raise $400. Your generous donation is appreciated in advance as you visit this link”