Located in Cape Town, the Muizenberg Conscious Store and Muiz Kitchen serve the community and support local businesses with organic products. Advocating for a clean plate and a healthy planet, Sandi, is one of the enthusiastic and passionate women who are behind the store and kitchen. In a recent interview, Matshadiso, one of Amava’s volunteers, interviewed Sandi to find out more about the Muiz Kitchen project:
“The Muizenberg Kitchen came about during Covid in May 2020 because of the food crisis it presented. It was founded by the community members and at that time, initially there was funding provided, which only lasted around 8 months or so. Once the funding ended, there still was a need to feed the community. We needed to come up with ways to sustain ourselves to keep servicing this need and to remain self-sustainable. To assist the kitchen in the sustainability, the Store started to emerge.
Sandi is one of the main drivers behind the Muiz Kitchen and the Conscious Store.
The team at the kitchen took the store on board while also using the natural/organic products from the store in the kitchen as part of the cooking to continue feeding the community. The introduction of being a package-free store gives them the opportunity to change consumers’ mindsets. No plastics are sold at the store which encourages the buyer to be a conscious consumer. She raised the question that if you have an empty beans container at home, why would you choose to buy the ones in plastic packets at your local supermarket which you’ll go home with, cut, and throw it out only for the plastic to end up in a landfill or the sea endangering the live species.
The store encourages people to bring their own containers, an alternative is using brown paper bags, thus, minimizing the use of plastics. To prevent food waste, the store also offers products like olive oil and vinegar on tap which people can then buy in small quantities. Sandi mentioned that they pride themselves on knowing the fact that people can buy food consciously knowing that it is organic/natural, healthy, and of good quality. “There is a conception that organic food is very expensive and we are proving otherwise.”
The store has seen an opportunity to purchase directly from local suppliers in bulk using the fresh produce in the kitchen while also selling them in the shop. They mainly focus on edibles, body care, and home care products that are made by local residents. All of these are natural and good for the planet, with ingredients such as coconut oil and almond oil. So the store really focusses on all the aspects of one’s life through the selection of the products they offer. They mainly support micro businesses, those who produce from home and aren’t in a position to rent out spaces in shopping centres. It’s more exposure for the businesses to get their products out to the community and to the international visitors who regularly flood the streets of Muizenberg throughout the year.
Their main suppliers of organic vegetables are The Spring Foundation in Mitchells Plein, a small farm in Plumstead – which has only been active for a year, along with another farm in Philippi. The team has also ventured into curated veggie boxes. They offer the Organic Box for R300.00 on a Tuesday and the Conventional box for R150.00 on a Thursday, with a variety in each box every week. Sandi said that one of the joys of working with the farms is a quick service, as the produce is harvested, delivered to their store, and collected by the customers on a Tuesday. Due to this, they have seen some great reviews from the community.
Sandi and Claire busy preparing delicious nutritious meals at the Muiz Kitchen.
Being a spiritual person, Sandi believes in the magnificence of our creation, and that what we put in our bodies is just as important. That our true purpose truly lies in serving others. She believes that her passionate work within her community will extend the notion that people can sustain themselves efficiently and without spending too much. Her journey is deeply embedded in her love to help other people, along with her attachment to micro-businesses as she believes there are enough opportunities for everyone. “I just feel strongly that it’s us little people that can make a difference. There is room for all of us and we can all prosper if we just did it all together and help one another.” By doing so, people would be exercising what needs to happen in communities. People should not focus on who has the most and who does not.
Sandi aspires to see the work they do in their community motivating others to do the same. People need only join together as a team and put passion and love for one another in their efforts to do good in their community. Food brings people together, and what better place to do it than within our communities.
Serious team work makes the dream work. Sandi and many volunteers work hard to keep the goodness flowing day by day.
In terms of future plans, Sandi mentioned how most people in the Muizenberg area have their own gardens, therefore they hope to find a way to encourage people to either exchange their organically grown produce or sell it at a reasonable price. Both parties would benefit since one receives fresh vegetables and the other receives money to sustain themselves further. “We are blessed to have an abundance around us, our supermarkets shouldn’t be the only place we go to get fresh veggies, it should be our gardens. And, there is an opportunity because you don’t necessarily need a big portion of land. A plant pot or a balcony would work well.”
By working with Amava Oluntu, the project has had the space to grow and develop. As one of the projects falling under the Amava Oluntu umbrella, the Muizenberg Conscious Store has been allowed to focus on the work they do. As a result, the kitchen has expanded beyond food production to include a shop, bicycle deliveries, veggie boxes, care packs, nutritional workshops, catering to name of few of the things they do. “The organization does not dictate what we must and must not do thus giving us the freedom to grow in the way that we have. They have supported us.”