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EWA South Africa - Community Gardens

"We are not just growing food but growing people. We are not only giving people a plate of food, but more valuable than this; we are empowering people to help themselves."

01.04.2013 | WICF Project


Countries: South Africa
Donors: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
Partners: Soil for Life, Urban Harvest, Decentralized Environmental Solutions
Issues: Biodiversity & Food; Gender & Rights
Duration: 01/2012 - 12/2015

Even 20 years after apartheid has ended, many South Africans still live in precarious situations. Especially people living in the townships suffer from hunger and a lack of nutrition. Children cannot learn properly when going to school hungry. Chronic malnourishment hinders he individual development and keeps people from realising their own potential in life. It creates a vicious circle for the development in the whole country! Therefore, to break this vicious circle of poverty and malnourishment, it is necessary to improve the available nutrition.

Furthermore, people living in urban areas have lost most of the knowledge on (small-scale) agriculture, biodiversity and sustainability – In the global South equally as in the global North. There is no space available fit for learning those things. And this is where WECF comes in.

Our goal:
We want to work against this development and raise awareness for everyone’s own abilities by implementing school- and community-gardens in the province Western Cape. With our local partners Urban Harvest Soil for Life and Decentralised Environmental Solutions we have found the perfect organization to implement the project in a practical and playful manner. Not only the nutrition is improved, but also the self-esteem and social consciousness is raised. Also, in the medium term, our training of trainers enables the community to build their own community gardens without our external support. In the long run, we are thus trying to create a self-reliant community-network on producing food for its own consumption and trade.

Developing Urban Food Gardens
In 2012, WECF supported partners in South Africa to develop “urban food gardens” with and for low-income women in former townships. These included the ecological treatment of surface water for irrigation, and the reuse of nutrients and waste for biogas (in community  food kitchens) and soil improvement. Community food gardens have been set up in Blikkiesdorp and Lavender Hill, South Africa. The food gardens will provide an opportunity to empower women to provide more nutrition for themselves and their families and gain income from selling surplus food.

The peri-urban areas of Blikkiesdorp and Lavender Hill have some of the highest poverty and malnutrition rates in South Africa. Therefore, WECF has committed to breaking the vicious circle of malnutrition, hunger and poverty. Together with the local partners Urban Harvest, Soil for Life, and Decentralised Environmental Solutions,  the Food Garden has been created. The food garden in Blikkiesdorp is located centrally, just next to a communal Multi Purpose Centre. This ensures that many people will pass by and experience the change of atmosphere a patch of green can make. The food grown in the garden will be used directly for a street pop-up restaurant or will be sold wholesale to various food vendors on-site and simplify trading. Circumventing complicated bureaucratic structures and costly intermediary vendors, profit margins will be high for the people selling the food produce.





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