Help our Gardens Grow - support our initiative to invest in households across the Genadendal-Greyton Valley towns to grow their own food
Our Challenge: food insecurity now and in the future
With the Covid-19 lockdown and work restrictions and a collapsing local economy there is severe food insecurity among the communities in the four towns in the Genadendal-Greyton Valley (population 17 000) in the Overberg Region of South Africa. This is likely to worsen over the coming year. Our collective effort under the Red Cross of providing food parcels to vulnerable families is a vital short-term emergency response. But a sustainable response is needed for the medium to long-term.
Our Solution: Valley Food Gardens
The Greyton Transition Town (GTT) and a growing number of local organisations, have launched the Valley Food Gardens initiative to help households to grow more vegetables for themselves.
Home vegetable gardens provide families with fresh, nourishing food, strengthen immune systems against the virus, reduce family food bills enabling them to spend more on proteins. In the longer term this also offers growers the possibility of selling surpluses to create a new source of income.
"Let's save pessimism for better times". Eduardo Galeano
Our Approach: investing in local Gardening Hubs
We are investing in the development of community-based Gardening Hubs as proto-enterprises, one in each of the four towns in the Valley. These will be supported by a central Hub based at the EcoLodge. The Hubs are being created by four existing successful local growers in the communities, setting themselves up to provide seedlings, compost and coaching to households to boost or begin their own food gardens.
Initially the seedlings and compost will be partially subsidised to kickstart the process. Once things are going Hubs will begin to charge more for their sales, services and gardening expertise, serving both their own communities and also wealthier residents in Greyton.
We will be running a Covid-19 Nutrition Education Campaign with local schools, organisations and churches to encourage more growing and eating of leafy greens rich in vitamins and anti-viral selenium and zinc.
Building local circular economy, unlocking local resources
In the valley we are blessed with ample land, water and skills. Valley Food Gardens can help revive our rich tradition of market gardening and grow our local economy to face the difficult years ahead.
As the households start to produce surplus crops and with the easing of restrictions, we will be setting up regular markets in all the towns (we have already one in Greyton), start an organic veggie subscription box for wealthier residents and broker supplies to local restaurants for when tourism returns.
Local food and markets will help circulate income back into the local economy instead of it flowing out to big supermarkets and food corporations, thus helping to multiply local economic activity and incomes and contributing a more self-sustaining economy and a better-nourished, healthier population.
This initiative is led by Marshall Rinquest, the GTT Director, who has years of experience in supporting permaculture and community-based food gardens in schools and households, diverse teams of gardeners, organisers and enthusiasts.