Feb 2021 2nd Edition

Food gardens to feed COVID-19 victims in Cape Town

Written by Daniel Bugan

Project encourages hard-hit communities to start backyard and urban farms to reduce food insecurity. 

An initiative to establish food gardens in areas where the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has severely affected households was recently rolled out by the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee for Urban Management.

The Food Gardens Project forms part of the City’s Urban Management Support Programme’s initiative to establish sustainable food gardens that will help address food shortages in vulnerable communities.

Approximately R3 million has been budgeted for the project. The funding will go towards providing targeted beneficiaries with farming kits that include seeds, fertiliser, equipment and training, among others.

“Given the devastating impact of COVID-19 and growing unemployment, we all have to play a role to assist our citizens. We also have the responsibility to create opportunities for communities to feed themselves through initiatives like these,” says Alderman Grant Twigg, the Mayoral Committee member for Urban Management.

The initiative is underpinned by a skills development programme to ensure beneficiaries are equipped with appropriate skills for future employment in the sector.

The city anticipates appointing a service provider by March 2021 to assist with business development support, mentoring, the establishment of cooperatives and access to markets.

The aim is to involve a few hundred backyard and urban farms from across the city, comprising of 24 subcouncils. Each subcouncil was asked to identify 30 participants to start up food gardens. Assessments of the gardens are currently underway.

According to Twigg, more than 400 submissions from across the municipal area have been received so far.  

“We are busy with the assessment and verification process and once that is complete we will appoint beneficiaries,” he says.

The Food Gardens Project will provide support to new and existing farmers making use of areas such as backyards, schools, open spaces around city-owned buildings, churches, non-governmental organisations, clinics and libraries. The venture will not require capital costs.

“This project is aimed at encouraging households to start their own food production units.  Owning a garden offers great potential for improving a household’s food security.  This includes direct access to nutritionally rich foods, savings on food bills and fall-back food provision during lean periods,” says Twigg. 

Residents interested in being considered for the Food Gardens Project, can direct enquiries to urban.agriculture@capetown.gov.za

Rural development
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