The green economy at work

The SEED Accredited Permaculture Training Programme offers young adults who haven’t finished matric the chance to complete an equivalent qualification in permaculture.

SEED is a non-governmental organisation based in the Cape Flats working to demonstrate that the green economy can provide employment, skills and a future.

Now 12 years old, it began its work in schools by pushing for the inclusion of environmental education. It is now an accredited trainer, and its programme takes youth from disadvantaged communities around Cape Town – Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Phillipi and Gugulethu – and gives them work internships or job opportunities after a three-week course.

Mentorship
The curriculum ensures that graduates leave with all the skills to create sustainable livelihoods. This ranges from the ability to create a permaculture site, to public speaking and low-cost household retrofitting.

To ensure the skills are practised, the course includes a 20-week internship at one of the green workplaces SEED has partnered with in Cape Town.

There is constant mentorship during internships, as well as exit interviews and assessments.

The result is a group of graduates who have the theory and practical skills to make sustainable development a reality in communities that desperately need it.

It also ensures that healthy and affordable food is being supplied to households.

SEED provides tangible results of the green economy and youth employment. The project is growing outside the community, with the Gourmet Mushroom project employing five people and selling produce to Pick n Pay.

To date the course has had 80 graduates, 75% of whom have gone on to start their own permaculture projects, worked at other NGOs and been absorbed into government jobs.

SEED’s offices at the Rocklands Urban Abundance Centre also provide a living example to the surrounding communities of what can be achieved with sustainable permaculture.

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Sipho Kings
Sipho is the Mail & Guardian's News Editor. He also does investigative environment journalism.
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