Planting seeds for the future is both a physical and metaphorical endeavor for the formidable female farmers of Mahenye Village. Their vegetable gardens are the life source for many Shangaan families – keeping culture and community alive. This lifeline extends beyond the village and into the Gonarezhou National Park, as food security results in lowering the risk of temptation to commit wildlife crime in order to survive. Human, animal and ecosystem health are inextricably connected. These gardens are pivotal to maintaining the fragile balance of Human-Wildlife cohabitation.
Initially supported by the EU, SAT-WILD and Odyssey for Change, together with Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, to lay a solid foundation for preparing future landscapes for the residents of Mahenye Village. The nutritional gardens support the community themselves, as well as supply the lodge with vegetables. This ensures the gardens have a market, a worthwhile incentive for long term viability. Adopting an agro-pastoral lifestyle reduces conflict between wildlife and humans as well as contributing toward better ecosystem health.