Up and down, on and off

1 August 2021

There have been many ups and downs in South Africa recently. Many would say things are getting worse, some say there is no hope. With so much uncertainty, the only thing we can say for sure is that we rise and fall together. As we continue to define our path forward, we keep this in mind; “We can fail on our own…we can succeed together” -Jay Stetty

As food insecurity is rising around the county, we continue our attempts to urban farm. This process has been up and down… mostly down, as most of our plants have not been successful, but through these “downs” we have learned the most! You won’t have a successful harvest without healthy soil. Growth starts from the bottom up. While our aim in the townships have been to build up from within the community, we have also come to the realization that the problems South Africa, and the world faces, lies deep within the soil. To have an impact we need to dig to the roots.

Our “Ready to Eat Now” initiatives aim to teach families to sustain themselves through urban farming, but the need goes even deeper than that. We can’t change the fact that most adults in South Africa live on poverty wages earning about R3,000/$200 a month. As this realization sets in, we, REN Hockey, feel the frustration and pain of our families. The more time we spend in these locations and with our REN families and friends, we see their longing to sustain themselves, to feel empowered, and many want to head back to their roots in the Eastern Cape. The lack of infrastructure and resources in these areas make it difficult to build a life there and escape the continuous cycles of poverty that continue to bring people to the Western Cape and other cities to begin with. As a result, the townships continue to grow, inequality, and the social ills that accompany it, continue to rise. We feel trapped.

While we are still defining REN Hockey’s path forward- we are moving slowly ahead slowly step by step…with one foot ahead of the other we are planning our escape “off the grid.”


Carenna Neely


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