Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is cultivating food security, one home at a time with the Garden in a Bucket (GinB) initiative.
Food security — particularly in the context of global climate change — is one of the most important issues of our time. A lack of food security, within any tier of society, leads to instability and impacts everyone.
While FTFA collaborates with various projects possessing extensive land resources, we also recognise that ensuring food security at a grassroots, household level is a fundamental building block of community well-being and resilience. When families have the means to cultivate their own food, they not only gain access to a stable source of nutrition but also acquire valuable skills and knowledge.
In 2018, FTFA conceptualised and implemented their first Garden in a Bucket (GinB) initiative as a way of empowering people to take control of their food sovereignty.
The GinB initiative is strategically designed to equip subsistence farmers with essential tools, including a bucket, a watering can, hand spade, hand fork, FTFA’s comprehensive Growing Green manual, seedlings, seeds, and a generous quantity of organic compost.
These invaluable resources are strategically distributed to facilitate community development and bolster overall food security in some of the nation’s most food-insecure regions. Marginalised communities are also disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and backyard gardens mitigate this climate injustice.
Approximately three months following the distribution of a GinB, an evaluation process is carried out. Remarkably, the results reveal a substantial positive trend, with the majority of gardens exhibiting growth and yielding vegetables that significantly contribute to household sustenance. Moreover, some beneficiaries have harnessed their agricultural skills to not only secure their own meals but also supplement household incomes through the sale of surplus produce. Consequently, a notable proportion of GinB recipients have achieved an impressive level of self-sufficiency, making them eligible for sustained support and further empowerment.
For example, GinBs were distributed to a community in Groblersdal, Limpopo in April 2023, and included a short training session to support families in improving their home food gardens. In July, an assessment was carried out which proved once again the effectiveness of the initiative. Between the 60 recipients, over 700 bunches of spinach, 30 heads of cabbage, 78 beetroot bulbs and 8 packets of spring onion had been harvested. Most of the produce was consumed by families, while some of the produce was sold for a total of R3630 (a conservative estimate based on recorded harvests). The community members continue to benefit from the resources provided, substantially improving their livelihoods and self-esteem.
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