Lufefe Nomjana, also known as the Spinach King,started his business with just R40 and turned it into a Health Food Café and Bakery that supplies restaurants and shops in the wider Cape Town area. The Spinach King opened his restaurant right next to the Kayelitsha train station, and supplies low-GI and gluten-free spinach bread to local Spars and Wellness Warehouse stores. In the process he is also helping to transform the community he is located in.
Update May 2020: The Spinach King is now available to order online too! Visit Ground Culture to order a fresh loaf of bread.
Lufefe Nomjana is the owner of Espinaca Innovations, known as the Spinach King. We had the opportunity to visit his café in Khayelitsha, to get to know more about the Spinach King. As we walked towards the restaurant, the beautiful vertical spinach garden against the wall caught our eye, and is a perfect representation of what the business is all about.
The philosophy behind the Spinach King is to empower the community and make a positive change in their eating habits. To create better awareness about nutrition, and diseases that are linked to unhealthy food, and how to eat and live healthier. At the core of the business is creating opportunities in the community, through micro farming and social development. Lufefe is closely working with micro farmers in the area, making sure they grow top quality spinach to ensure consistent supplies for his breads, pastries, 7-veg burgers, and smoothies. Next is to utilise the land next to the restaurant for social development micro farming, to show the farm to table concept.
Lufefe’s journey doesn’t come without obstacles: the many available fast food chains in the area smell appetising to the local community, and it takes stamina to keep telling the message about the importance of healthy food. The Spinach King is innovative in how to approach these challenges: he’s developed a healthy 7 vegetables burger that satisfies the cravings without the processed meats.
The response from the community is positive, which is encouraging to continue with sharing the message through schools and the different micro entrepreneurs he’s working with.
We were there to deliver the Spinach King’s new OmniBlend V - 1.5ltr, and take the opportunity to get to know him. We’re proud to partner with Lufefe and his team, as they’re working tirelessly on positive change in the community.
When you hear him speak, it’s clear that a healthy lifestyle is very important to Lufefe, he is very passionate about promoting and living a healthy lifestyle, making better choices and changes.
The main focus is on spinach because it grows fast and it has excellent health benefits: spinach contains all six major classes of nutrients. Lufefe also incorporates other vegetables into the food served at the café, like the delicious 7 veg patties used in the sandwiches, and in their smoothies.
Why use spinach in bread, we asked: “Incorporating spinach into a loaf of bread, is the perfect way to increase nutrient intake, especially because most people are on the go and always busy. People don’t have time, and since forever they’ve been eating bread. So the easiest way is just to add vegetables to the bread.” Explains Lufefe. Lufefe is responsible for the development of recipes and the quality control. He’s hands-on, handling deliveries and management of the cafe and farming relationships as well. He’s working hand in hand with his wife who heads the production team.
It’s clear the Lufefe is a busy man: over the past couple of years the Spinach King has expanded with a second bakery in Khayelitsha, and a partner restaurant opened its doors in Amsterdam. “I loved Amsterdam! I cycle here in Kayelitsha and being able to cycle around Amsterdam was awesome! The restaurant is doing very well, the Dutch seem a little more health conscious and that makes it somewhat easier to bring the message across.” There are plans to reach out to the Langa community as well, and he’s planning to branch to other provinces in South Africa. Keep a look out for the Spinach King: there’s still more to come!
You can get yourself a spinach bread at a few local stores and delis in Cape Town, or take a drive to Khayelitsha and meet the King himself.
For more about the Spinach King: http://www.spinachking.co.za