Renshia Manuel of Hanover Park is one of the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy social entrepreneurs of the 2017 programme and is a recognized social entrepreneur in Cape Town and founder of Grow Box – a portable vegetable garden that is revolutionising food growing in a community that is most affected by food insecurity. Renshia is one of the Amaphiko Academy 2016 participants. With the national fuel hikes now set to create massive hikes in food prices, and in turn affect food security over the next few months, I thought Renshias’ story could be relevant and inspiring to all women across the country?
Renshia first started growing vegetables in her backyard in 2015 to feed her four children, and then invented Grow Box in 2016, a portable wooden box that allows people living in cramped housing conditions to grow their own vegetables. The great thing about Grow Box is that it can be used by people living in dense, high rise flats with small balconies, as well as backyard dwellers or residents of informal settlements. Since it has raised legs, you don’t need to get down on your knees to dig around, which is good news for the elderly and disabled, because it doesn’t require backbreaking work to maintain. As long as there’s sunlight available and you can consistently water it, Grow Box can provide you with healthy, organic vegetables anywhere.
The box comes with a variety of vegetable seedlings which the buyer can select, compost, three hand tools and beginners manuals. The idea was so impressive that shortly after rolling it out, she won third place at the 2016 Youth Start Cape Town Entrepreneurial Challenge, and was recruited by Red Bull Amaphiko in 2017, an international academy that jump-starts grassroots social entrepreneurs who are making a positive change in their communities. After attending the academy they team up with a one-on-one mentor and together they develop business, personal and strategic development plans that they bring to life over a period of 18 months.
Fuel price set to have devastating effect on food prices, the impact on food security will be felt in the next few months. Renshia really deserves to be recognized for stepping up to tackle this monumental problem and to do this in such a way that it enables the people in her community to become self-sufficient. Aside from growing their own food, the Grow Box provides people with a way to make a living from the vegetables and herbs they grow.