Community food gardens increase job opportunities and food security

Moira Church Community Project. Picture: Supplied

Moira Church Community Project. Picture: Supplied

Published May 18, 2021


Cape Town - One hundred and thirty community food gardens in areas with high levels of hunger and unemployment each received more than R100 000 in support from the Department of Agriculture to maximise their impact on food security and economic relief.

Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said the department aimed to ensure the continued existence of food gardens by providing infrastructure and production input grants, presentations on how to start and sustain food gardens, training programmes, mentoring programmes, and site visits by extension officers to offer advice and support.

“Whilst the gardens differ in size and the average cost of establishment is approximately R110 000, applicants are entitled to a maximum funding allocation of R200 000 each,” said Meyer.

Standing Committee Chairperson on Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Andricus Van Der Westhuizen said that community food gardens proved to be an untapped source for social development, economic relief and food security.

“I shall be visiting community food garden developments that are showing promising results in their respective communities to both encourage those involved and ensure that taxpayers’ money is well spent,” said Van Der Westhuizen.

Garden of Hope owners Natasha and Jerome Johannes said this support allowed them to network in the Mitchells Plain community and assisted in getting the infrastructure needed to grow organic vegetables.

Sakhulwazi Women's Agricultural Cooperative.

“We have been selling our crops to the community and were able to employ two workers at our garden twice a week. Garden of Hope also started a small workshop where we skill unemployed people to make planters and other wooden wonders out of recycling pallets,” said the pair.

While the Trinity Community Food Garden did not receive any monetary contributions, Geronimo de Klerk said they received a wealth of tools and resources that aided in their production of food sold to people in the Elsies River community.

“They gave our food garden a 10 000 litre water tank that now helps us garden with collected rainwater, as well as seeds, a wheelbarrow and other gardening tools,” said De Klerk.

Moira Church Community Project financial officer Regan Milton said that since receiving the assistance, there had been a tremendous change in the production at the food garden, and they were extremely grateful for the much needed resources.

Director of farmer support and development Jerry Aries said that 50% of the gardens that benefited come from the metropole and had the shared vision of selling more produce and generating a sustainable income.

[email protected]