Community Gardens Provide Food Security to the Overberg Community
Today the Minister of Local Government, Anton Bredell, visited the Community Development Workers' (CDWs) food garden project in Grabouw. The aim of his visit was to highlight the impact these food gardens are making on the Hillside, Site View, Xola Naledi, Melrose Place and Slangpark communities.
This project has been in existence since 2008 and supports close to three thousand (3000) households in the area by providing fresh vegetables like tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes and cabbages. Today some eighty (80) community members receive a stable income from this project while the rest of the community obtains the health benefits of this easily accessible, fresh vegetable source.
These food gardens were established with the support of the CDW Programme. The CDWs assisted with applications for funding, obtaining tractors, containers, fencing, tools, compost, seeds and a borehole.
The CDWs further helped community members complete registration forms for both the Companies and Intellectual Properties Registration Offices (CIPRO) and the Municipality's database. Further assistance was given with the development of business plans for the food gardens through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism's RED DOOR initiative, along with linking the food gardens to the Department of Agriculture (highlighting effective partnerships between government departments and the community). Community members involved in this project have acquired both gardening and business management skills.
Local government is effective when community members are actively involved in their community's social and economic upliftment. Minister Bredell says, "These food gardens are exactly what our country needs - people who fend for themselves and also help those who have less than them."
"Today I am able to feed my family with the vegetables grown in our garden," says fifty two (52) year old physically challenged Isaac Isaacs, of Hillside in Grabouw. Isaacs did not allow his disability to discourage him from joining this food garden initiative.
Before the establishment of the food gardens, the communities of Overberg had to walk long distances to the nearest farms and markets to buy vegetables. Today the food gardens offer individuals a way of growing their own food in household gardens or collaborative groups called co-operatives.
To date, two gardens have received awards and prizes of fifty thousand rand (R50 000) from the Department of Agriculture (Female Farmer's Award) and twenty thousand rand (R20 000) for a household garden.
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