Food security means that everybody must have access to affordable, sufficient, safe and healthy food to meet their dietary needs to lead an active and healthy life.
Growing your own food
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture actively encourages citizens to start household and community food gardens in an effort to support food security in the province.
Communal gardens make it possible for communities to feed themselves as well as selling the excess fresh produce that they produce. This also encourages entrepreneurial skills and broader financial independence while ensuring access to nutritious food.
It's cheaper to grow and sell food locally, because vegetables are cheaper and transport costs and other overheads like rental is reduced or completely excluded.
Communities also have the choice to plant vegetables that are in demand in the community. When the vegetables are grown for the local market or organic stores they can be informed by the sellers or market owners. This will give a good indication of what people are asking for and plant vegetables according to that demand. Planting vegetables according to demand reduces wastage of vegetables and gardens are used more optimally contributing to a healthier environment.
Vegetables that are grown in the gardens range from the old favourites like spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, mealies, green beans, peas, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions and lettuce. Some entrepeneurs have branched out and grow fancy lettuce, peppers, chillies, artichokes, asparagus, brinjals, zuchini, patty pans, diffrent colour tomatoes, diffrent colour carrots and micro greens to supply the growing demand for diffrent organic vegetables by upmarket shops and restaurants.
The Western Cape Government encourages and supporting community farming projects with funding in an effort to boost food security in the province.
At the awards of the Food Garden Competition that was hosted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Minister, Alan Winde, said South Africa’s undernourishment level remains close to 5 percent. Minister Winde added that equipping residents with the skills they needed to produce their own food is key.
“Giving residents the tools they need to buffer their communities against food insecurity is an important focus for the Western Cape. This is why the Provincial Department of Agriculture supports household and food garden initiatives across the province. In this financial year, we have committed R12 million to a range of these projects.”
Why we need to grow our own food
- The gardens provide work in the community.
- The gardens are a source of financial income.
- Communities have access to healthy food in the form of fresh vegetables.
- Communities have access to nutritional meals.
- The gardens contribute to food security.
- Community gardens are a greener alternative and provide for a smaller carbon footprint in communities.
Benefit to the community and environment
- More food is produced on a small scale which contributes to Food Security in the community.
- Community gardens mostly use agri-ecological and organic production methods to be viable, which ensures a healthier environment.
- Communities are provided with healthier food that is free of chemicals.
- Communities produce different types of vegetables in order to exchange and barter with other communities encouraging entrepreneurial enterprises.
- Communities are able to ensure healthy economy practises by selling their products.
- Balanced nutrition is introduced to meals allowing healthier lifestyle choices.
- Community projects on school premises have the advantage of providing food to soup kitchens and school feeding schemes.
- School children are provided an opportunity to be involved by teaching them about gardening and healthy activities.
- Growing food locally and selling it in the community reduces the community's carbon foodprint and supports a healthier environment.
How people can get involved or start their own garden:
Beneficiaries can apply for assistance through a request form at any local departmental Office. The Western Cape Department of Agriculture can also provide training and extension services to beneficiaries. Here is a list of local departmental offices that you can contact.
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