a group of people standing around two men digging a hole

Willard Garden in a Bucket Programme

Garden in a Bucket programme helps promote sustainable economic development for the Buhle Park community


Willard Batteries’ sponsorship of the Garden in a Bucket programme, from the Trees for Homes project, is helping to create multiple positive outcomes for underprivileged communities in South Africa, including the promotion of sustainable economic development and enhanced livelihoods.

Simultaneously, the programme is set to assist communities to better adapt to climate change by building capacity and skills within agriculture and urban forestry.


Recently, at a ceremony held at Buhle Park Primary School, 140 residents from the Buhle Park community received a “Garden-in-a Bucket” containing the basic tools and resources required to start their own backyard food gardens. This included a 20L bucket with a lid, two 500g organic fertilizer bags, one hand spade, one growing green book, three packs of maize, beans and squash seeds and 100 seedlings containing spinach, beetroot, cabbage, cucumber, green pepper and tomato.



The Community Educator team, responsible for the Trees for Homes project, each put forward 20 residents within the Buhle Park community to receive a Garden in a Bucket. The team was joined by staff volunteers from Willard Batteries to assist with the distribution.


Corné Strydom, Sales & Marketing Executive for AutoX, says that the project is expected to produce countless positive benefits for the participants as well as Buhe Park community members.


 These gardens support underprivileged children and other vulnerable populations, while the community benefits from fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. Further, indigenous trees planted as windbreaks attract beneficial insects, create shade, clean air and help sink rainwater and educational programmes support a greater understanding of the local environment and food systems.



“Ultimately, clustering these programmes allows communities and school children to see the impact of a healthy environment and ecosystem first-hand – one they helped to create. “


Robyn Hills, Head of Programmes for Food & Trees for Africa, notes that Garden-in-a-Bucket evolved out of the Trees for Homes distribution programme.


“Many homeowners and beneficiaries started food gardens in and around their trees. We noticed that many of these small vegetable patches were feeding families but could be more productive or expanded if resources were supplied. As such, we realised that short-term training, tools and seeds could enable more immediate yield as well as more sustainable livelihoods.”


She adds that these programmes started in 2018 but were expanded during 2020 over lockdown, as food supplies needed to be closer to under-resourced people’s living spaces.


The 140 residents participating in the programme were selected by seven community educators who went door-to-door and identified and selected 20 homes each based on whether they had initiated or previously started a food garden. They were then invited to receive materials from Willard. Robyn says that Buhle Park was specifically identified for this project due to the community being a well-run low-income area that was receptive to greening.


 Community educators are supported with short-term workshops on how to select and assist the home gardeners. The educators will the then follow-up by checking that the resources are effectively used at each home and by taking pictures at the four-month mark to highlight the most productive gardens. Most of the engagements with the community relate to capturing data, providing feedback to the funder and running logistics for the distribution event.


Robyn concludes that as urban gardens become part of the local food system, the Garden in a Bucket programme help to create and build a lasting resilience and legacy for household communities in need.


“Urban Gardens contribute to a self-sufficient, adaptable, and resilient mindset that helps buffers community members against food insecurity and fear. Gardening also provides well-documented mental health benefits, with recent studies indicating that those who work with the soil experience less stress or depression and even less allergic and asthmatic conditions.


“In a country that’s already ravaged by poverty, starting a victory garden is a way of contributing to healing. If South Africans feel encouraged to grow food, their home-grown produce will take the pressure off the food supply system and help support the work of the soup kitchens and feeding schemes around the country.


“By growing something beautiful and useful, you can increase environmental awareness and community pride. In turn, this could easily be enough to inspire the next generation of urban farmers.”


 About Willard Batteries

Willard Batteries is a 100% South African battery company. Rated amongst consumers as their car battery brand of choice, Willard Batteries supplies the original and replacement markets with a comprehensive range of premium quality automotive batteries. The company has a history of giving back to the community. It made a significant contribution with the Go Green, Go Willard campaign which helped raise funds for Food & Trees for Africa and which helped plant thousands of trees in schools and other areas across South Africa .


About Trees for Homes

The Trees for Homes programme was initiated by FTFA in 1990 in recognition of the threat that climate change posed, with fundraising taking place to plant trees in schools in Johannesburg. Its core objectives are contributing to food security, greening, natural resource management and sustainable business. It also strives to promote environmental activities and awareness within all sectors of society and to educate and train learners, teachers and communities within historically disadvantaged communities of Southern Africa.


Find out more about your own Carbon Footprint

Empower yourself to take action and responsibility for your and your company’s carbon footprint by checking out Trees for Home’s carbon calculator: https://trees.org.za/carbon-calculator/