The Western Cape Government has helped establish over 1 500 household food gardens over the past three months, through the ‘One Home, One Garden’ campaign, which was started to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the initiative, families in Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain, Riversdale, Thambalethu and other areas are provided with ‘starter packs’ consisting of 150 vegetable seedlings, fertiliser and advice on the planting, tending and harvesting of vegetables. Some households have also been provided with chicken houses.
It is hoped that these food gardens will continue to boost food security in the province for many years to come.
“The aim is to assist households to be able to produce enough food to meet basic household food security needs throughout the year. By encouraging communities and households to establish food gardens, we are shifting the focus from food relief to food security,” says Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer.
Meyer points out that a small garden of around 20m2 can be used to grow a wide variety of vegetables.
“During autumn, you can grow lettuce, cabbage, onion, beetroot and beans while in spring, broccoli, spinach, carrots, turnips and peas are some of the best crops to plant,” he says.
Similarly, one chicken house with four to six chickens can provide a family with six to eight eggs per day, helping to provide protein.
Martha Meyer, who lives in Kraaifontein, received assistance from the department in June. “With the starter pack I was able to start growing my vegetables immediately. Even though I hadn’t done much gardening before, I was able to grow and harvest some carrots and spinach, which I have used to help feed my family of four.”
Meyer says that she is also providing advice to other people in her community on starting their own food gardens.
“Starting a food garden is cheap and it can really help to solve hunger in our communities, especially during these challenging times. Also, if you are able to make a larger garden, you can sell the extra produce and earn an income.”