Digging up soil and planting spinach seedlings, Jason Mraz literally got down and dirty at the Dis-Chem Foundation’s Food Garden on 26 February 2015.

Jason may be a Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter, but he is also well-known for his social activism and philanthropic efforts– from environmental advocacy to support for LGBT equality. So it’s no surprise that on his recent South African tour, this American artist wanted to dedicate his spare time to making a difference here too.

Jason asked Showtime Management, the company that brought him to our country, to see a sustainable food garden that assists communities. The Dis-Chem Foundation’s Food Gardenwas honored to be chosen. It was more than just a mere visit though. Jason and his band, Raining Jane were set on getting involved and working alongside our 12 farmers.

Excitement was in the air as they arrived. The farmers at the garden welcomed them by singing a songand Jason graciously responded with one of his own hits. After a short tour, the real work started. Even the media members were inspired to roll up their sleeves.

With the farmers on-hand to assist, Jason, the band and media planted 10 beds of spinach– in an impressive hour and a half. While working, this avid gardener, who owns an avocado farm in California, shared tips about natural pesticides and cultivation methods, and emphasised the importance of individuals growing their own food.

“Jason talked about having a dream and making it come true. It’s something that we can relate to at the Food Garden. Using only sustainable methods, this burgeoning garden now provides food for thousands of people,” says Penny Stein from the Dis‑Chem Foundation. “Jason was most impressed with our commitment, passion and willingness to help address malnutrition in communities. He is an artist who walks the talk and practices what he preaches. Food sustainability is in his fibre.”