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Food growing – The Back2Front Yard Farming (B2FyF)™ Project

Back to Front Yard Farming project
DC Garden 2017
Growing food in boxes


Our research in communities identifies that the continued lack of access to nutritious food remains a challenge. Better nutrition improves infant, child and maternal health, develops a stronger immune system, lowers the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and increases longevity and quality of life. The price of fresh fruit and vegetables is a challenge where household income is already under pressure.

For over a decade we have been growing food at Dreamcatcher. Until recently this was undertaken in the garden at the former Dreamcatcher Home Office. We produced nutritious food which was used in meals prepared by the Cook-Up Kamammas with visitors helping to harvest the food, in food for the Dreamcatcher Kids, and also distributed in the community. A key part of this work was trialling the Green Johanna composter in a South African community setting – the unit is enclosed and handles all food and garden waste. The resulting high-quality compost rewarded us with an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. Additionally, we harvested rainwater to grow the food.

There has been a general lack of food growing in the wider community of Melkhoutfontein and many of the townships around South Africa. Inhibitors include lack of space, lack of knowledge and skills, access to resources such as water, and the impact of dogs and vermin destroying crops. Additionally, most of the local subsistence farmers in the community who grew and sold vegetables on their larger allotments and land, have passed away. As identified by our First Aid Responders who were active in the Covid Pandemic, the lack of access to nutrition was a critical factor for the community during lockdown. 

Post pandemic in 2022, taking on board our research findings, we started a small-scale food growing trial in boxes. This work was in collaboration with Hermanus Rainbow Trust and funded through the Utopia Foundation. In partnership we ran two training programmes which included making food growing boxes from reclaimed wood, how to prepare soil and growing organic food. The training workshops took place in Melkhoutfontein with the Hermanus team staying with Dreamcatcher Homestay Kamammas and enjoyed local Kamamma food. After the training programme the Hermanus Rainbow Trust returned to Hermanus to work on their own food growing project.

The Melkhoutfontein trial produced high quality organically grown micro greens, vegetables and herbs which were distributed in the community with samples provided to suppliers for testing. Dreamcatcher received positive feedback from the market and community. This presented the opportunity to scale up the project to increase nutrition in communities whilst creating local enterprise through distributing food growing boxes. We registered the brand Back2Front Yard Farming (B2FyF)™ with the logo developed by volunteer Marisa Condello, and we temporarily moved onto a farm to increase production.


In June 2023 we started to distribute food growing boxes made from reclaimed wood with enterprises providing mentoring and support to community members on growing their own food. We were elated to be joined by local and international volunteers who helped with this work. We have distributed 20 boxes in Melkhoutfontein and once we have the Dreamcatcher Sustainable Futures Centre up and running, we will be resuming food growing on a larger scale. 

Dreamcatcher team scaling up the number of food growing boxes on the farm
Dreamcatcher team scaling up the number of food growing boxes on the farm
Preparing the food growing boxes for distribution in the community
Preparing the food growing boxes for distribution in the community