Proposal for a self sustaining community farms – by Japie Erasmus

1 Introduction

Africa has a huge problem with unemployment. This leads to poverty and squatter camps where people struggle to survive. Socialism failed to deliver on its promise that all will have enough to eat and a place to live. Instead it led to dictatorships. Capitalism brings riches to some but leave millions in poverty. Neither of these systems is perfect. The worst thing that can happen is that someone develop yet another ideology that ends in disaster after one or two generations.

After 18 years most South African citizens finish with school only to find there is no job opportunity’s. The capitalistic society requires more than 18 years of education (from birth to matric) for someone to fit in. Then if you want to be a success you have to study further. What about the ones with no education, do they have any chance?

South Africa is a capitalistic society, the economy is working, but we must find a way to make everybody productive. We must find a way to get the uneducated to participate in the community while providing them with a good future and a good standard of living.

The kibbutz system in Israel is such a system. It was formed by poor people that returned to Israel. They could not afford individual farms, so they formed groups that bought collective farms.

For about 40 years the kibbutz system sustained its members and provided a decent but basic standard of living. After about 40 years a lot of people moved on to a better life. This system had its strengths and weaknesses, but undeniably provided a way to support poor people after the depression.

2 Guidelines in the bible

Isa 5:8-10 Is a warning against those who gather riches while leaving nothing for the rest.

3 Philosophy

The community farm will provide: • A decent basic living for those who cannot provide it for themselves. • Provide education to all members of the community to prepare them for life in and outside of the community. • Will introduce as many as possible of its members into the wider society. • Will form part of any capitalist society. If all members move on to become successful participants in the economy, the community farm would have served its purpose.

4 Company

The method to share riches provided by the capitalist society is a company. In a company you can have multiple shareholders all taking equal or proportional parts of the profit. Our community will be a (PTY) LTD with up to ten shareholders. This allow for refined spreading of ownership in the company.

4.1 Governing body

The governing body will be a company with no profit expectations. This company will provide: • Experts to guide up to fifty community farms. • Auditors to audit the community farms. • Tractors to plough the land. • Transport to move the crop to the market. • Bulk buying power when purchasing seed, fertiliser etc. While the project starts the governing body will employ experts. After a few years these experts will be replaced by experts from the community farms. This is one of the growth paths for a community farm member to move on out of a community farm.

4.2 Ownership

Initially the governing body will own the community farms. Over ten years the community farm members will buy the farms from the governing body. When a member wants to leave the community he or she can sell there shares back to the governing body. This can then be sold to new members over a period of ten years

4.3 Land

On inception the company will purchase a plot of land of size ????.

This stand must have sufficient space to: • Plant food for the community. • Plant food to sell on the market. • Build houses for ten families. • Build a community centre. This can be as basic as tree a large car port where the community can sit in the shade. • Provide a play area for the kids.

4.4 Housing

Ten two bedroom houses will be build. No additional hoses/shacks will be allowed on the land. This ensures a sustainable society. If more persons move in, than the land can support, the farm will end up in another slum.

4.5 Population

One family will be allowed per house. A family consist of one or two guardians and up to 3 kids. To remain in the society a family must ensure that they take the necessary steps to prevent more kids. A population buffer must exist to allow the community to grow. This buffer must be controlled with strict rules to prevent overpopulation. The buffer allow for new kids or marriage of a member. If the community reach its limits the population must be split.

To prevent this, kids need to move on to nearby communities when becoming adults. A natural movement of people will happen when certain persons want more than the basic living offered by this community farms. A community might decide to sponsor a kid or other member to go study and so move on to a better life.

4.6 Work

Each member of the community above a certain age must work. Like in any company, if a member does not pull his or her weight, the person can be voted out and shares bought out at a market related price. There will be different jobs on the farm each must be filled with a person in the community farm. Training will be provided from the central body.

4.6.1 Crop farmer

This person must decide when to plant. What to plant. How much fertiliser to use. What pesticides to use and when. When to harvest. He or she will receive on the job training from the farmer in the governing body.

4.6.2 Labourer

Help over the farm as and when required.

4.6.3 Poultry farmer

The poultry farmer must manage the poultry. Manage the food supply for the poultry. Purchase new food if required. Sell off extra eggs to the market. Manage the poultry population. Decide when to slaughter and how much. Sell off access poultry to the market.

4.6.4 Book keeper

Manage the funds. The bookkeeper will not have the right to spend money only to manage the books. This will happen under supervision from a bookkeeper from the managing body.

4.6.5 Teacher

 4.6.6 Elder

 4.7 Food

The type of food must be decided by a panel of experts. These experts will design a formula that must be followed by all communities.

A balance will be required between crops and poultry. If required tunnels might be required, but the cost must be factored into the cost of the community. If possible the community must be self sustainable all year.

Trained farming leads will visit the communities to ensure that the formula is followed and to guide the community on what to plant and when. An auditor will visit the communities to ensure that they adhere to these rules.

4.8 Income

Once the community is fed and sufficient food is stored to feed them the rest of the year one can focus on additional income. All additional crop will be taken to the market. Income from the sale of the additional crop will go into the bank account of the company.

Essentials like soup, shampoo cooking utensils, fertiliser etc. will be purchased from this money. Water and electricity bills will be paid and the instalments on the purchase of the land.

4.9 Training

A system of rating skills will be used. Persons’ names will be written on the left. Their required skills on the top of the page.A single line indicates the member has done the task before.A line at the bottom indicates that he is competent in doing the task on his own. Another vertical line indicates that he is very good at doing the task and can handle all aspects without supervision. Closing the block means that he is nou mentoring someone else.

In this example John took part in planting. He is competent at harvesting. He would like to learn about poultry farming. He sees on the chart that Susan is a competent poultry farmer and is willing to teach. So John ask Susan to teach him.

After partaking in the poultry activities with Susan he can put a line against poultry.

This technique can be used in all places where skill upliftment is required. Initially all teachers will be from the covering body.

5  A basic community-“Case Study”

If you watch survivor you will witness a basic community forming. When a group of people end up is a new environment with nothing, they immediately start organizing themselves.

5.1 Day one team one

Lets say our community have 10 persons. Joe starts gathering food as this is the most basic requirement. Susan gets water from the stream 400 meters away. The rest lay around in the sun. That night there is barely enough food for every one and not enough water to wash.

5.2 Day one team two

Team two also have 10 persons. They immediately split up, 3 gather food, 2 get water, 2 get wood and start a fire. The other 3 start building a shelter. That night they have enough food to all have a basic meal. There is a roof of leaves to sleep under and enough water to wash themselves before going to sleep on the sand.

5.3 Day two team one

Same routine as the previous day. John starts complaining bitterly that Susan must provide more water an Joe must get more food. That night there is barely enough food for every one and not enough water to wash.

5.4 Day two team two

After getting enough food for everyone the 3 food gatherers start helping with the shelter. That afternoon all 10 members is helping with the shelter and by nightfall there is a floor to sleep on. They sit around the fire and enjoy a nice meal of fish and fruit. They al enjoy the new deck laid out with soft leaves.

A huge improvement on the previous day….


~ by Daniel Berg on 03/11/2010.

2 Responses to “Proposal for a self sustaining community farms – by Japie Erasmus”

  1. I feel that the gap between poor and rich, educated and uneducated, haves and have nots is just growing. If we don’t do our part (as individuals) to bridge the gap, our children and their children will sit with a legacy of (in part) our neglect. Great idea Japie!!! My sincere hope is that everyone reading this will respond with PRACTICAL ideas of how to get this concept growing and off the ground! “Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person.” ~ Mother Theresa

  2. I think with a bit of refinement this can work…as for the livestock consider the following – include rabbits as these breed easily and can provide protein and the excess can be sold as well. The challenge though will be in implementation.

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