If you’ve been craving veggies so fresh, they still smell of earth and taste like sunshine, be sure to visit a Checkers store near you on Thursday, 4 April for Market Day!

This will also be an excellent opportunity to support small-scale food gardens that provide sustainable nourishment and income opportunities for vulnerable communities across the country.

As part of its strategy to fight hunger, the Shoprite Group acts for change by partnering with more than 60 gardens. In partnership with Food & Trees for Africa , the retailer offers training and provides gardening equipment as well as seedlings over a period of at least 18 months.

Market Day is an outflow of this, as it enables community food gardens to promote themselves to a broader customer base and sell their excess crops. It provides them with some much-needed extra income, but also helps boost their independence, which - in turn - leads to greater sustainability.

“Checkers is empowering us by giving us a chance to sell our tomatoes, chillies, spinach and other vegetables,” says Oupa Bila, director of the Caroll Shaw Memorial Centre in Brandvlei, Randfontein. “We hope the customers love our vegetables!”

Bila and his team will be participating in Market Day at Checkers Tambotie.

Those in the Mashishing area will be able to buy freshly-harvested vegetables from the Khomanani Vhanu garden at Checkers Lydenburg.Located near Acornhoek in Mpumalanga, Khomanani is a Market Day regular and will be setting up
shop for the fourth time next Thursday.

“We’ve participated in all the other Market Days and they have all been great. The income
generated from sales there are a lot more than when we’re selling vegetables straight from our garden,” says Auriel Ngobeni, a founder of Khomanani Vhanu.

According to Robyn Hills, Food and Trees for Africa programme manager, Market Day is also a great opportunity for the gardens to put the marketing- and business skills they’ve received as part of the Shoprite Group’s support into practice.
“Some of these gardens have commercial ambitions and this kind of exposure opens their minds to the great opportunities out there and gives them the experience to grab them.”