OneFarm Share: Growing Together
OneFarm Share is an inspiring story of what can be achieved when key partnerships, backed by corporate support and aided by the latest technologies, work together to drive food relief and food access. The stories behind the first year of the OneFarm Share programme, from the farmers to the registered charities, are at the heart of this success.
OneFarm Share matches farmers with produce to registered charities via accredited food distribution partners in order to ensure food security to vulnerable communities has reached its one year milestone. Launched in 2021 by Standard Bank, and powered by the HelloChoice digital trading platform, OneFarm Share has contributed over 7,037 tons of produce, equalling 28 million meals that reached a million people through 1,860 beneficiary organisations.
With the food contributions managed and dispersed by FoodForward SA and SA Harvest via their vast and trusted networks, their transparent and efficient system benefits all involved, from the farmers to the beneficiary communities. Farmers who donate fresh produce will receive a s18A Donations Certificate and become actively engaged in the HelloChoice online digital platform. Farmers who want to get involved can donate or contribute their produce at a special offer price specifically for the OneFarm Share programme.
HelloChoice’s CEO Grant Jacobs explains further, “As an approachable and more accessible buying channel for emerging farmers, the OneFarm Share programme helps bring emerging farmers into the commercial supply chain and offers efficient and low-cost market access. Easier and faster paths to commercialisation for this critical part of our agricultural sector are key to building both food security and economic inclusion.”
OneFarm Share has also enabled some of the many emerging and, in particular women farmers, on the HelloChoice platform to support local communities. With a total 272 emerging farmers contributing towards OneFarmShare, of which are 61 emerging female farmers. One such example is African Marmalade, based in Gauteng and founded by Siphiwe Sithole in 2015 and which grows indigenous and popular staple vegetables such as potatoes, beetroots, cabbage and carrots.
Siphiwe brings small scale farmers together across the province to aggregate into the OneFarm Share programme, giving them market access, reducing waste and deflationary price pressure, and thereby enabling smaller scale farmers to focus on growth into commercialization. Siphiwe started her OneFarm Share journey in February 2021 and together with her farmers, they have contributed an incredible 667 tons of fresh produce.
Another key HelloChoice partner is A Pillay Farm, a 13 hectare farm that has been operating since 1981 in Thornville, KZN and produces crops such as spinach, lettuce, baby marrows and cabbages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Theovin Pillay realized that the farm was having issues with excess produce that they were unable to sell through traditional means. Not wanting the food to go to waste, they started donating fresh produce to the local community in any way they could. In November 2020, HelloChoice approached A Pillay Farms to get involved and have subsequently contributed in excess of 54 tons of fresh spinach, butternut and cabbages. As Theovin Pillay states, “The little we have can make a big difference to South Africans, giving back makes all the difference.”
One of the commercial donor farms to OneFarm Share is Cape Five Exports, whose fruit donations have exceeded 16 tons. Cape Five Exports is a fruit company focusing on stone fruit, apples, pears and citrus. Cape Five’s Wynand Viljoen has this to say about their involvement, “We always want to give back to the community and OneFarm Share made this easy. They collect and distribute the fruit, we only have to send them the details and locations. It’s quick and easy and the truth is we have enough food in the country to feed all. Let’s feed the nation!”
Another pivotal partner in the journey from farm to fork are the OneFarm Share food distribution partners FoodForward SA and Harvest SA, who ensure the food ends up with reputable beneficiary organisations. FoodForward SA is South Africa’s largest food distribution non-profit organisation. Their core business is the recovery of good quality, edible surplus food from farmers, retailers, and manufacturers for redistribution to registered and vetted beneficiary organisations in under-served communities that provide feeding services, social services, health care services, skills development services etc. According to FoodForward SA’s managing director Andy Du Plessis, “The partnership with OneFarm Share has allowed us to significantly increase the nutritional value and provide greater variety of our food basket to beneficiaries. The food basket’s nutritional value has increased from 82% to more than 90%. This partnership is immensely important for both farmers and beneficiaries as farmers need purchasing support so that they recover economically from the effects of the pandemic whilst 50% of the people living in South Africa are food insecure, and providing them with fresh fruits and vegetables not only addresses short term hunger, but also positively their nutrition status.”
SA Harvest has a mission to end hunger in South Africa by taking a revolutionary approach to tackling the immediate food security crisis through rescuing nutritious food and delivering it where it’s needed most. Food waste happens throughout the food ecosystem, and SA Harvest’s model of tackling hunger means that they can deliver food that would have gone to waste to the most vulnerable in our society, according to SA Harvest’s COO Ozzy Nel.
Some of OneFarm Share’s beneficiaries organisations include early education centres, women’s organisations and other community feeding schemes such as The Domino Foundation, a non-profit organisation that has been running for over 12 years in KZN, The Sizimisele Development Trust, a beneficiary organisation that service many different types of beneficiaries ranging from early childhood development to helping those suffering with HIV/Aids and theMasisizane Service Centre, an old age day care facility located in Inanda, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
As the OneFarm Share enters its second year, key partners Standard Bank and HelloChoice call on farmers, logistics companies, and corporates to join the initiative in order to enable the project to reach its increased targets for 2022. With support from additional partners, OneFarm Share hopes to be able to increase total donations to 10 000 tons, to provide 40 million meals to needy communities and children across the country.