WHAT IS GREEN FUTURES?
"A Dream becomes Reality"
story of Green Futures is one of good news and hope in which unemployed
people can find a new and exciting future in the field of fynbos landscaping
and conservation. It all started as a dream of the Lutzeyer family, owners
of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, to train unskilled people from local
communities and to find work for them in fynbos landscaping and horticulture.
What started as a dream has become reality through a public/private partnership
project between Grootbos and DEG (German Investment and Development company).
The DEG agreed to support Grootbos on a rand-for-rand basis over a two-year
period to establish the Green Futures college and training program. The
education centre has been built on Grootbos, a team of lecturers employed,
a training curriculum developed and the first intake of twelve unemployed
students chosen. The first years intake of eager gardeners
in the making began their training in June 2003.
From the perspective of the long-term conservation
of the Capes unique flora, gardening with indigenous plants is a
must. There is a growing trend in the Cape to grow water-wise gardens
using indigenous plants. Not only does this make practical sense in a
hot, dry region, but also indigenous plants are exceptionally varied,
very beautiful and attract a wide variety of birds and other wildlife
into gardens. But who is going to do this gardening? There is a severe
shortage of knowledgeable people with the practical and theoretical experience
to develop indigenous private or public gardens.
Helping others to help themselves
Green Futures is a non-profit organisation.
Linked to the college is an indigenous wholesale plant nursery. As part
of their practical work, students are involved in growing and caring for
the plants that will ultimately be sold and the funds generated reinvested
into the project. In this way we hope to develop a business model that
will become self-sustainable after the initial two years of support provided
by the DEG. In the longer term Green Futures intends expanding its courses
on offer to include training in ecotourism, hospitality and nature conservation.