I Can! opened its doors to the first agricultural academy within the I Can! fold on 1 September 2014. The academy is located on a huge piece of ground in the suburb of Merrivale, near Howick KZN.
The first twenty learners were enrolled on a 3-month vegetable gardening skills program, and were kindly sponsored by Agriseta. Some of us ex-city slickers were extremely grateful to have the agriculturally-able assistance of our newly employed facilitators who held our hands patiently as they explained that vegetables are actually quite easily grown in the soil and not just purchased from Woolies. That was the first surprise.
The second came from the learners. We have watched these young adults grow in confidence as they learned about the soil and its properties. They composted, weeded, planted and irrigated. They pulled on their gumboots and raincoats as the first rains of the seasons bucketed down and flooded the farm roads. They watched over their seedlings like concerned parents. They trellised, ridged and nurtured their plants over the 12-week period and finally today they harvested their produce. You can imagine the smiles as these learners took home their own-grown spinach leaves and eagerly discussed dinner options!
A further ten learners have been enrolled on the year-long Plant Production learnership. These learners have been sponsored by African Food Dynamic and Oricol Environmental Services. I am sure that you will join me in wishing them great success as they complete their fundamental unit standards focusing on good communication, numeracy and literacy – skills that all farmers need. Their great agricultural experience has just begun and I am confident that we are going to witness the growth of our new budding agriculturists, proving that our only limitation in life is our ability to dream big.
Manager: Special Projects and Farmer Wannabee