John F. Kennedy once said “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see”. The members of Ufuzo Agricultural & Dropping Off Centre share this sentiment in light of improving food security in their community.
Ufuzo community members started their community food garden with the sole objective of teaching children from surrounding areas about the practicality and importance of growing their own food. The project encourages children to start a food garden at home. By doing so, the project members aim to entrench within the community the importance of self-sustainability as an avenue to food security. Through the support that Ufuzo has received from Food & Trees for Africa, in partnership with Shoprite, the garden has taken significant strides towards reaching these goals. Since receiving support, the number of children who benefit from healthy, nutritious meals supplemented by the food garden has increased from 100 to 500.
Many other community members also experienced the positive impacts of the existence of the food garden within the community. So much so that they were inspired to start their own homestead gardens. To celebrate this enthusiastic initiative, Food & Trees for Africa selected fifteen community members who had already started homestead gardens. These homes received a garden-in-a-bucket, giving them an extra boost. Each garden-in-a-bucket contained planting materials, tools and educational material. The resources assisted the community members in improving their home gardens and the quality of their produce.
During October 2022, the fifteen homestead gardens were visited and evaluated to see just how beneficial the gardens-in-a-bucket were. It was evident that the positive impacts of the gardens-in-a-bucket donations extended beyond the recipients to the community at large. The community enjoyed abundant harvests, some of which included 287 bunches of spinach and 142 bunches of kale. There was also ample beetroot, onion, cabbage and spring onion harvests.
“The recipients of the gardens-in-a-bucket used the harvests to feed their families. They donated extra produce to neighbours in need. Through this initiative, a large number of community members who did not have homestead gardens were inspired by the agricultural centre to take control of their food security by creating their own,” says Mini Sikosana, Food Gardens Co-Ordinator at Food & Trees for Africa. This has been extremely encouraging for the project members at Ufuzo who have put in much hard work to uplift and improve food security in their community. The members of the food garden are currently harvesting seeds and have established a seed bank. This will increase the garden’s ability to be self-sustainable and productive in the years to come.