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Food gardens lift people out of the dumps

Dump sites across the country are ideal for food gardens and ‘bring so many positive aspects of life’. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency

Dump sites across the country are ideal for food gardens and ‘bring so many positive aspects of life’. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency

Published Dec 8, 2020

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Cape Town - Dump sites across the country, especially the spaces between buildings, can be transformed into food gardens and at the same time save the environment.

Streetscapes project founder who runs a community food garden in District Six, Jesse Laitinen said: “Our gardens don’t grow plants. We grow people. We hope to grow better coping mechanisms for wounded adults, self-love and acceptance. To show them that the community does care about them and that they are part of our society, I would encourage people to consider not just the plants, but the people when it comes to community food gardens.”

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Founder of a nursery garden in Knysna, Gabriel Scholtz, said: “Our cities are very similar. There exists very little ‘green culture’ since people are struggling to get by. If you leave nature out in the beginning then you grow without it.

“I would say that our cities need to learn one thing that will change the level of appreciation we have for our environment. We need to dedicate more space towards very large green spaces which are integrated.

“We don’t just need food/urban gardens. We also need parks with ponds where all the cities run-off water is perhaps sent so bird life can exist in the cities. Food gardens should be an addition to this. South Africa has so much land with which to do this. I believe that 40 % of a city should be parks and open spaces,” said Scholtz.

A dump site in Hatfield, Tshwane, more than 100 years old, was turned into a food garden. Businesses surrounding the site were constantly using it for their waste.

University of Pretoria manager of community engagement Gernia van Niekerk, who has worked hard with her team to develop the “Moja Gabedi” garden said: “...Turning urban garbage dumps into a meaningful garden brings so many positive aspects of life. The homeless who are staying on the sites become part of the solution and substitute drug manufacturing with producing and eating food.”

Cape Argus

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