Uncle Wiz is a shining example of a thriving small scale farming and food distribution business that not only farms without chemicals but also focuses on and promotes indigenous food crops. Owners Wisdom and Mpumi Edward live in south Johannesburg and farm on land in Vanderbijlpark. Not only do they grow many indigenous African crops that have been sidelined but they also specialise in growing and processing traditional African herbs, particularly those used in Nigerian cooking, such as bitter leaf, scent leaf and Ugu pumkin leaf, among many others. Through social media, they share recipes to raise awareness on using herbs in cooking, not only to make tasty traditional meals but also for the health benefits. This has led to greater demand from customers who were not using herbs in the past. In addition to a shop they sell online and run a delivery service. Catering to a niche market has been one of the reasons they have become so successful. In this video they talk about how they’ve built this business and what they plan to develop next. The challenge now is to gain investment to expand the farming and agroprocessing sides of their business. These are the kind of local food businesses that need to be supported.
We visited the Edwards at home to find out more:
As members of local collective, Rainbow Maize Farmers, they also grow, save and share seed of indigenous maize varieties and other crops, internally and through networks across the country.