In Kwadwesi Extension as the Amandla Study group, we started this work through as backyard gardens. Here the work was started through a number of study group discussions on a number of themes which were mainly around the problem of unemployment. We wanted to complete these study group with something that is practical and started the farming project as the easiest idea to start with. For us community farming was an important mobilising tool against austerity, against GMOs, against unemployment and also against crime, alcohol and drug abuse that has plagued our community. We have also become a part of the South African Food Sovereignty campaign as we also believe we cannot win the struggle against food insecurity without food sovereignty.
Reflecting on this work has challenged us to consider how we use language and to think about how words could also be used to negate this important humanistic work. As a result we have come to see this work not as gardening – a word in English associated with middle class leisure and with the hard work most often performed by working class men whose labour has been marginalised and racialised in our society. This word ‘gardener’ we would like to suggest erases the socially useful work of livelihood food production by working class men and women in urban and rural communities. It is as the isiXhosa term “ukulima”, to farm, and “abalimi” – as farmers – that people involved in community farming refer to themselves and their work in the communities we are involved in .