September 4, 2023

Young Farmers Gain Valuable Insights at Woolworths Waterstone

Woolworths Waterstone

Sixteen aspiring young farmer interns from the Living Soils Community Learning farm in Lynedoch, Stellenbosch, recently took a break from their farming studies to immerse themselves in the world of retail. This unique opportunity saw the interns spending a week at Woolworths’ flagship Waterstone store, where they delved into the intricacies of the food supply chain and customer service.

Each intern was paired with a dedicated mentor from the Woolworths team, who guided them through the various aspects of a successful retail operation. This comprehensive experience covered customer service, understanding food chain disciplines, and the importance of stock availability.

“The purpose of this immersive week at our store was to expose young farmers to the retail side of the food supply chain, complementing their overall learning experience at the Living Soils Community Learning Farm,” explained Ismail Arnold, Store Manager at Woolworths Waterstone. “Recognising that not all young farmers may choose a career solely in primary agriculture, we wanted to offer them an alternative pathway by inviting them to step into some aspects of the food value chain and our ‘retail world’”.

The Living Soils Community Learning Farm, a partnership project between Woolworths, Spier and the Sustainability Institute, aims to address food security, climate change, soil and biodiversity loss, poverty and unemployment, and agriculture inclusivity in South Africa.  The project forms part of Woolworths’ Inclusive Justice Initiative, one of the pillars of the company’s Good Business Journey and commitment to care for the environment, people, and communities.

Each year, a new group of young farmers, who are completing their diplomas in agriculture, join the farm as interns where they gain hands-on experience in regenerative agricultural practices as well as participate in a skills development plan, which tackles work readiness skills, problem solving, and people management to help equip them for potential employment in array of opportunities in the agricultural value chain.  By bridging the gap between farming and retail, the collaboration provides invaluable insights and potential career opportunities for young farmers. With a comprehensive understanding of the entire food supply chain, these interns are equipped to make informed choices about their future endeavours, be it in farming or the retail industry.