When lockdown brought the country to a standstill almost a year ago, Caro Tapson and her husband had to make a plan. The film and video industry and her career as a producer with it, came to a standstill almost overnight. With a bank balance going backwards, it was clear that lateral thinking was required to put food on the table. Together with her spouse Matt, also in the same industry, the pair began baking sourdough bread for sale from home as Linden Loaves with Caro also putting her love for gardening to good use, catapulting her side-hustle, the Seedling Stokvel, into the stratosphere.
“During lockdown, a lot of people started growing their own vegetables at home,” says Tapson, either out of necessity or to have something to while away the time with. “It was then that Seedling Stokvel really came into its own,” an online business created in 2016 where she created seedling trays with seasonal produce for people to nurture and grow at home. “The response was incredible, and at times I simply ran out of stock.” The success of the project along with a booming bread trade, led the pair to a second instalment to their endeavour late last year.
“I founded Seedling Stokvel late one night in 2016. Ever since then I have run this small, digital business online for two reasons. I love gardening and I love trying new things,” says Tapson.
She studied Environmental Science with Economics and Botany hoping to become a natural resource economist, butut that did not work and she become an urban agriculturalist instead while also focusing on her visual career.
The first Garden Pop Up workshop-come-market took place in November last year with the Tapsons hosting it at home, in Linden, Johannesburg. Entrance was free with income derived from other stallholders and sales. “We didn’t know if anyone would come,” she says, “and it was nerve wracking thinking about a bunch of strangers arriving at your home.” But the event was a runaway success. In fact, they are doing it again.
A second Garden Popup, moved to a larger venue at Linden Deli, featuring seasonal autumn veggies to grow at home, will take place during the last weekend of the month. This time with the addition of a Friday night jazz evening, where an entrance fee of R 200 will be payable. There will be wine tasting with Johannesburg’s only winery, artisanal snacks, and a performance by the Peter Auret Jazz Trio. Saturday remains free with gardening workshops and a market.
Of course, there will be freshly baked sourdough breads from the Tapson’s Linden Loaves, the autumn edible seedling tray from Seedlings Stokvel, sustainable deli foods from the Little Deli, gardening product for the discerning gardener from Gardenbox, award winning honey from the Urban Apiary with indoor plant specialists Groen and organic plant food range from Talborne Organics amongst others.
The Autumn Garden Popup takes place at the Linden Deli, 4th avenue Linden on 26-27 March. During The wine tasting and jazz evening tickets can be purchased at email@example.com and include a light meal (vegetarian or not) from the Little Deli. It starts at 17:30 and ends at 19:00.