Mbali started her business after identifying an opportunity to help her community. This is how she did it.
I’m an urban farmer in Phefeni, Soweto. Being an urban farmer means that I use spaces that are available around me to grow my vegetables, like a back yard.
I got my business idea in 2015 after the vendor I bought vegetables from, Elastin, told me that she was closing her stall because her supplier was closing their business. I decided to become a vegetable supplier.
I asked my mother if I could turn our back yard into a vegetable patch to plant tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, onions, potatoes, and carrots.
My mom has farming experience. She taught me how to prepare land for farming and other skills, like how to control insects that destroy plants. Some things I learned from the Internet, like how many cabbage seeds to put in each hole.
My mother also helps take care of the farm during the week while I’m at school. I look after it on weekends.
Three months after planting my first seeds, I had my first harvest and started supplying produce to vendors. I charge R800 for five batches of carrots, four large sacks of potatoes, ten large cabbages, two crates of spinach, 12 kilos onion and tomatoes.
My business has grown so much that I now use land that belongs to two schools in my community to farm. I also employ four people.
Even though running a business is not easy or something many girls think about, I encourage you to.
I’m proud that I help my community to eat fresh vegetables that they can buy at an affordable price. Girls can do anything they put their minds to, including being a boss lady.