Garden in a Box: How to save or help others amid steep fuel, food price increases
Cape Town – With food prices likely to soar after a record petrol price increase from tomorrow and the government offering limited support to address the growing hunger in vulnerable communities, the Tafelsig Community Action Network’s (CAN) Joanie Fredericks believes more than ever that self-sustainability is the only answer.
While continuing to feed Cape Flats communities heavily affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, Fredericks wants to help people eventually move away from a culture of handouts and entitlement.
“It’s not only their stomachs we are worried about, but also the entitlement – always receiving without having to do something for yourself and I feel very strongly about that,” Fredericks told IOL on Tuesday.
“If you look in someone’s eyes who is standing in a food queue, day after day with no hope in sight, it’s absolutely painful for that person. I believe we must continue feeding the community but at the same time we must look at ways people can create self-sustainability.”
Tafelsig CAN, together with Shaun Cairns’ Organic Earth Solutions, launched a food garden box project called “One Household, One Garden” four months ago. The garden boxes include seeds, organic plant boosters, organic fertilisers, measuring cups, botanical insecticides and fungicides, with 12 different varieties of vegetables.
These are very challenging times and Fredericks has already been forced to mitigate the expected influence of the steep petrol price increase on her businesses.
“A large part of my community in Tafelsig have lost their regular jobs. I have a community driving school and I also launched a taxi service for women, and I have been forced to increase my prices slightly due to the petrol price increase, which will impact communities.
‘’The petrol price increase will impact everything and unfortunately there’s not much assistance from the government. We haven’t received anything over the last 12 months and we don’t expect anything suddenly.
‘’We are in a position to still continue running 12 kitchens. But I find myself having to look out for other kitchens, it’s tough out here. There’s really no choice, we can’t stop.
‘’We can only continue believing that those who can, will continue supporting us for as long as it takes. But self-sustainability is the way to go because it doesn’t matter how much money someone has or the resources at their disposal, at some point even the richest person will have to stop giving.
‘’It’s also important for self-worth and dignity that all of us find a way in which we can start looking out for ourselves. I am always looking out for solutions for the challenges that we face and four months ago we launched a Garden in a Box vegetable garden kit, which we have given to 40 households.
“I am very pleased to see that all of these 40 people have really taken to gardening and are very serious about it. Not only are our beneficiaries moving out of the food queue to become more self-sustainable, they are eagerly assisting new ’farmers’ to get to grips with the deep secrets of producing the excellent organic produce.
“All that is needed now is for you, who are in a position to adopt a family, to pay the very affordable price of R599 per Garden in the Box and gift it to someone less privileged than you.
“The People's Comedian Marc Lottering did it, Marc Wegerif from Johannesburg did it, Shaun Cairns, the brain behind Garden in the Box, did it. What they did was to restore the dignity and self-worth in people. Humanity is only possible if each of us participate.
“Aside from providing people food on a daily basis, people can sell or swap their vegetables with somebody else if they need electricity or something like that.
‘’The future for this is that we are already starting to look at farmers’ markets where people can get together monthly and sell their produce,” said Fredericks.