Having studied travel and tourism, and going on to open up an African cuisine takeaway, Ncumisa Mkabile never expected to become a farmer. Then, life happened and here’s what she made of it.

At the start of 2020, Ncumisa’s life hit a stumbling block. As a result of the pandemic, she was forced to close down her catering company and with it, she lost her only source of income. 

She needed to think of alternative ways to generate income. At that time, the country was still in a hard lockdown and many people were afraid to go outside. From this realisation, the young entrepreneur saw an opportunity.

“I started selling hard body chicken and I did door-to-door deliveries,” explains Ncumisa.

However, after seeing a demand in her community for fresh and cheap vegetables that were easily accessible, she decided to focus her attention on farming spinach.

“I noticed that people travel a long distance to get their [produce], that is why I decided to plant spinach, so that I can actually deliver their produce at the comfort of their own homes.”

Ncumisa’s business was greatly supported and appreciated by her community.

“The support from the community has been quite amazing because when I harvest, everything gets sold out on the same day,” she exclaims.

Soon, word spread of what Ncumisa was doing and her business blew up! She was soon having to employ seven people to help her meet the consumers’ demands, who could then afford to put food on their families’ tables and demand kept growing.

Due to increasing demand and limited farming space, Ncumisa moved her farm to a larger plot in Malmesbury.

“The reason why I chose the farm in Malmesbury is because the farm that I was using was really small so I was unable to meet the demand of the community in terms of production.”

In addition to supplying produce to the community, Ncumisa also supplies her spinach to numerous local businesses such as The Milk Restaurant and Champagne Bar.

This week, we get to see what Milk’s Consultant Chef, Siya Jayiya, whips up with Ncumisa’s delicious spinach.

The Milk Restaurant and Champagne Bar is a lifestyle and entertainment restaurant, located in Khayelitsha. The restaurant serves a selection of modern dishes suitable for various palettes.

“Local agriculture helps the community in many ways. Firstly, creating jobs and supporting local, promoting what is produced in this country and locally, which is very good for the economy of this country, and for chefs of this country,” explains Siya.

Many were inspired by Ncumisa’s story and she soon gained a following on social media. At present, she is the AFASA Newcomer of the Year Award Winner, the Against All Odds Starqt Award Winner, and a UN Ambassador.

Truly, while showing the way and creating jobs as she grows, The Spinach Queen is feeding families and dreams.

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