Midlands Food Hero – Philipa Farley
“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 Pletts 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 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 load up with veggies grown on small plots to sell in their shop KuhleKudla in Howick. Here you’ll find orange sweet potatoes, this season’s dried beans, big blue pumpkins, free range eggs, bright chillies, chard and, of course, the bread. Good fresh food at very affordable prices. On the first day they opened over 100 customers popped in and now the shop buzzes continually as the word spreads. This delights Philipa “We have to keep our money circulating in our communities, get back to village economics, keep things local.” She believes that everyone should know who grows their food and where it comes from. “If we care enough about one another we can probably help eradicate crime.”
Philipa is excited by all the opportunities there are in South Africa and bursts with ideas – how about madumbi bread, an authentic mielie bread or an old fashioned health loaf with stoneground flour and free range eggs? “What is the point of being alive if you are not having fun and helping people?” Philipa is changing the world – one happy, healthy meal at a time.