Nov 2023 1st Edition

Community gardens benefit many households

Written by Anele Zikali

Scores of residents in Mtititi village in Limpopo are able to escape poverty on a daily basis, thanks to community food gardens that are run through Thusong Service Centres.

Government established Thusong Service Centres (formerly known as Multi-Purpose Community Centres) in 1999 to refocus government services to meeting the basic needs of people, particularly those who live below the poverty line in rural and disadvantaged communities.

Poverty is a harsh reality for many South Africans and has devastating health deficits such as malnutrition, especially among children.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than half of South Africa’s children live below the poverty line and 1.5 million children, 1 in 3 are stunted.

In order to address these challenges, the centre manager, Ronald Shivuri, started the food garden initiative with two women who volunteered.

One of the volunteers is the 43-year-old Ellen Ngoveni who currently works at the four hectare community garden.

“I started off  by volunteering and now we sell the fresh produce from the farm and I get my income from the products that we sell. This helps me to take care of my family,” said Ngoveni.

There are currently three women working in the food garden, and they produce vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage.Community gardens

According to Ngoveni, About two hundred households from Mtititi and 13 surrounding villages are able to buy affordable vegetables from the garden.

The centre also supplies the surplus to local Early  Childhood Development Centres and selected households in dire need of food in the area.

There are about 121 functional Thusong Service Centres across the country that are managed by municipalities.  Only centres in KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape are led by the provincial government.

To know more about Thusong Service Centres visit your local municipality or visit the website to locate the nearest centre to your area: Visit the South African Government website:

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