“Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.”

This is the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s call for 2022’s Mandela Day on July 18th.  

Centred around its food and nutrition programme, Nelson Mandela Foundation urges the public to promote community and backyard gardens, supporting fruit and indigenous tree planting, and creating awareness of the intersections between food security and climate change.

The essence of Mandela Day is to take action, inspire change, and make every day a Mandela Day. 

The Mr Price Foundation aspires to do just that; “Make every day a Mandela Day”. Mr Price Foundation’s HandPicked, its flagship agripreneur programme, stimulates youth entrepreneurship, tackles food security and supports sustainability, in partnership with African Grower and Fresh Life Produce.  

Mr Price Foundation heeds the call from the Nelson Mandela Foundation by:  

  • Planting and growing fresh, organic and cost-effective produce in or for vulnerable communities. 
  • Investing in sustainable food production platforms to the benefit of vulnerable communities
  • Embracing home and community planting and growing as a contribution to protecting the environment and addressing the challenge of climate change. 

Launched in late 2020 with a green vision to promote ‘agripreneurship’ opportunities through agricultural skills development, HandPicked addresses four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  • no poverty
  • zero hunger
  • good health and well-being
  • decent work and economic growth.  

HandPicked trains youth from various agricultural institutions of higher learning and equips them with practical technical agriculture and agri-business skills to empower them to be better agripreneurs, and ultimately take their future into their own hands. 

What makes Handpicked different from other farming projects is that crops are produced in vertical African Growers using coconut coir as a growing medium. This assists with shorter lead times to ensure that produce can reach the market faster. 

The twelve-month skills development programme aims to drive social change while simultaneously making a sustainable impact, creating a brighter future for young South Africans. 

Youth and communities are equipped with life skills, business skills and modern growing techniques. These include producing vertical crops hydroponically, using less water and space than traditional farming, and maximising scarce resources in urban and rural settings. 

After graduating through HandPicked, growers are equipped to become self-sufficient food producers or agribusiness owners, stimulating local economies and community food production. 

In the pilot project, 75% of HandPicked candidates were female, empowering them to address unemployment and food insecurity in their communities. HandPicked also supports persons with disabilities, with half of the growers at Vukuzame in KwaZulu-Natal being disabled. Vukuzame growers are producing fresh produce in 30 tunnels, improving the wellbeing and nutrition of 104 dependents. 

Mr Price Foundation’s Vision is to co-create programmes to unlock potential, with employability or entrepreneurship as the ultimate goal. 

To heed the call from Madiba, learn more and/ or support our HandPicked programme, please visit https://mrpricefoundation.org/handpicked/ and https://mrpricefoundation.org/fund/.

Check out our HandPicked programme in action: video