Cape Town - In fewer than 30 days since the inception of the Garden in a Box project in Tafelsig, the produce is ready for harvest.
The One Household, One Food Garden project – a partnership between the Tafelsig community and Organic Earth Solutions – was formed as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic with the aim of enabling people from all walks of life to grow their own food using innovative and affordable urban farming systems.
Tafelsig Community Action Network (Can) co-ordinator Joanie Fredericks attributed the speedy harvest to the love and passion she has for the community, and positive vibes. "We sing and talk to the plants and I guess happiness plays a role."
Fredericks said the idea was that beneficiaries use half of the harvest for their household needs and give the other half to Tafelsig Mitchells Plain Can soup kitchen.
“We encourage people to barter and swop different varieties of vegetables with each other.
"In future we would like to create markets where beneficiaries can sell their harvest,” she said.
Gardening has at all times played an important role in the lifestyle and economic well-being of communities by creating independent financial development and providing a sure source of income, she said.
“Communities must learn that self organising is the road to sustainability;the only sure thing that they have direct control over.
"Covid-19 has taken away many people’s choices in lieu of survival and this project and its success is aimed to revive hope that it is possible to become whole human beings again.
“It is particularly important to restore self-worth and dignity. Communities have seen that the government has been unable or unwilling to support them fully since the Covid-19 crisis and they must learn from this lesson to stop being dependent,” Fredericks said.
Organic Earth Solutions chief executive Shaun Cairns said growing one’s own food had many health benefits and that one can savour it more because of the effort it took to get it to the table.
“It helps you eat more fresh vegetables, which can boost your immune system. You decide what kinds of fertilisers and pesticides come in contact with your food. It lets you control when to harvest your food.
"Vegetables that ripen in the garden have more nutrients than some store-bought vegetables that must be harvested early to go through the entire value chain," he said.
“Being able to grow your own food also creates emotional and personal wellness and best of all long-term self sustainability,” Fredericks said.