Nonkululeko started her agri-business, Kula, as a way to make her parents’ land more productive. She started by first cultivating seedlings in her own backyard in a space about as big as two door frames. Simultaneously, over the course of a year, she started to prepare her parents’ plot in Midrand.
In addition to helping people cultivate home-grown gardens, they are working on branding and selling herbal remedies, such as African woodworm, from their online store.
It’s about building a community of people who are conscious about what we eat. And as we are doing that, we are growing together, while we grow our own food.
“I ascribe to: sustainability, health and wellness and building a community of people. Kula means ‘to grow’ in Tsonga (in Nguni it would be “khula”), but the name came from my Tsonga mentor, Amon. When I attended the food forum in Stockholm in 2018, I met a Swahili farmer and he told me ‘kula’ means ‘to eat’ in Swahili, which is amazing! It’s also a Sanskrit word that means ‘community’. “
Kula has changed completely since the business was started. Initially a fresh veggie delivery service, Nonkululeko and her team now provide a service that uses what she learnt three years ago and shares it with others.
Learning to farm was a huge learning curve for Nonkululeko, she sought out Amon Maluleka, an organic farmer and a member of Bambanani cooperative who ran an urban farm in the heart of the inner city Bertrams. That’s when she asked Amon for practical lessons to turn the theory into something more accessible that people could use to learn to farm either in backyards or on a larger space.