SA Corporates Boost Community Food Gardens

Food gardens are growing fast thanks to partnerships between corporate South Africa and organisations like Food and Trees for Africa, making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of families.

With the myriad challenges experienced in getting food to the hungry, it has become increasingly important to focus on food security solutions that are sustainable through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

While food parcels solve the immediate and short-term plight of hungry communities, it certainly is not sustainable as it creates dependency. What is sustainable is teaching community members how to feed themselves. It is truer now than ever before: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime (origin unknown).

As a network of grassroots NGOs, the MAMAS Alliance CSI team brings strategic corporate partners to Food and Trees for Africa to start or strengthen community market gardens in many impoverished areas across South Africa. The Community Market Gardens programme is an income-producing vegetable production initiative highly suited to the South African agriculture landscape, providing a sustainable livelihood for the most vulnerable in society.

The extent of these impactful interventions depends largely on the corporate sponsor, and range from periods of 12 months to three years. It includes provision of equipment and seedlings as well as monthly skills development workshops. Once the programme coordinators see that the gardeners are skilled enough without support, the garden then graduates and exits the programme.

According to Magali Malherbe, Managing Director at MAMAS Alliance, “The socio-economic impact of food garden initiatives is significant. Not only does it empower communities to self-sustain, the independence also restores their sense of dignity. Freeing people from the uncertainty of where their next meal will come from, enables them to learn, grow and ideally thrive.”

The soup kitchen from the community market garden project in Ntsoanatsatsi, Free State province, feeds over 266 children daily. It is run by Kate Molefe, fondly known as MAMA Kate. From Monday to Friday volunteers and the mothers from the orphans and vulnerable children programme tend to the gardens by ploughing, watering and harvesting. The harvest provides the daily vegetables for the soup kitchen. Surplus spinach, cabbage and beetroot are sold into the community, while the maize is freely given to the children of child-headed homes.

Interestingly, during the lockdown period, more technical gardening skills were being passed down from “gogos” (mums) to children who have been accompanying them to the fields, seeing as schools have been closed.

“Through partnerships with NGOs we can resource stack; effectively seeing greater impact for civic organisations and the vulnerable people they serve. Food and Trees for Africa and MAMAS Alliance have worked together over the last three years to develop, train and expand vegetable production as well as the cultivation of herbs and fruit trees to build sustainable feeding programmes at their centres across South Africa,” says Robyn Hills, Programme Manager for the Food Security Department for Food & Trees for Africa.

Hills continues, “One of the major restrictions we face is when we meet an NGO who is viable on all fronts, but they do not have a reliable water source. Water is a key component for the success of a food garden. Borehole water, specifically, allows for further self-sufficiency as it gives gardeners total control over the water supply and they are not inconvenienced by municipal restrictions. Aside from the initial expense of installation, the ongoing costs are minimal as it requires very little maintenance.”

“The logistical challenges of providing food to potentially millions of hungry South Africans under lockdown are enormous, and possibly won’t be resolved through the existing systems. With enough support, people can grow their own food.” concludes Malherbe.

About MAMAS Alliance

MAMAS Alliance is a network of 33 independent and autonomous grassroots organisations which currently operate from 75 sites across South Africa, reaching over 60,000 children. The Alliance works in remote rural, semi-urban and urban areas across the country, providing structural and practical daily care to the most vulnerable and needy children. The CSI team assists with connecting the right corporate to the right project for the most impact.

Phumeza Langa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

OP-ED: Black Lives Matter / I Can’t Breathe

Thu Jun 25 , 2020
Views: 32 Author: Udi Pillay Senior Associate and Attorney at Adams and Adams Manchester- based businessman Georgios Demetriou of Licence to Thrill Ltd (“the Applicant”) recently applied to register the phrase “BLACK LIVES MATTER” under trade mark application no. 3497647 and “I CAN’T BREATHE” under trade mark application no. 3497640 […]

Let’s get social

Hi guys so I have this Magazine called Known Magazine @knownmagazine_, we are currently on our 4th issue. Please check it out and for improvements, I'd really appreciate your feedback! - @MathapeloPitse on the cover.

#magazine #coverstar #knownmagazine

RADIO: DJ Sbu launches a second radio station

Under Leadership 2020, a personal development & educational services company, they have taken the plunge & dedicated their focus on #OpenUpTheIndustry with a second radio outfit, aptly titled HOMEGROWN


You’re officially looking at the new Uzalo, Durban Gen & Lingashoni promo editor 🙏🏾💯🔥

God came through 🚨
Shout out Bafo Media

My #BTSignature QUEENS come in both alcoholic and non-Alcoholic! We’ve got you covered! Available at all Shoprite Liquor Stores nationwide. 😍😍😍🥂🥂🥂💫💫💫


We are proud to partner with @Boity on the launch of BT Signature. A new drink that is about to change the way we celebrate, forever! Must be 18+ to enjoy🔞. Available at select Shoprite LiquorShop stores nationwide. Follow @bt_signature for more.

Load More...
Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial