Active citizenship initiative Lead SA is partnering with the African Children’s Feeding Scheme, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo and the Dis-Chem Foundation to facilitate Mandela Day events geared at teaching South Africans how to plant and maintain their own vegetable gardens.
“Too many South Africans go to sleep hungry every day with no idea what they will eat the next morning,” Lead SA’s Terry Volkwyn said in a statement on Wednesday. “In the true spirit of active citizenship, we encourage South Africans to heed the call to curb hunger not only by starting their own vegetable gardens on their pavements, but by also donating surplus food to feeding schemes in our communities.”
Members of the public will be taught various gardening skills, including planting techniques, container gardening and pest control, at Mandela Day events at venues across Gauteng province, including in Midrand, Eldorado Park, Jabavu, Meadowlands, Orange Farm, Naledi and Zola.
The African Children’s Feeding Scheme (ACFS), which feeds over 31 000 children daily through feeding centres and mobile vans, will host a Mandela Day educational activation at four of its centres – in Jabavu, Zola, Meadowlands and Naledi – where stalls will be set up to expose community members to different types of food gardening.
A similar event will take place at the Dis-Chem Foundation’s community garden in Midrand, launched earlier this year to help community members in the area.
Also on Mandela Day, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo – under the theme “Harvest4Madiba” – will distribute fruit trees across Johannesburg, showcase small-scale farming in Lakeside, Orange Farm, refurbish parks, distribute food hampers and reclaim illegal dumping sites in Eldorado Park.
Lead SA will also create a community vegetable garden at their premises, Primedia Place in Sandton.
“We encourage other companies and businesses to assist in fighting hunger by transforming their front verges into vegetable gardens which could feed many more South Africans,” Volkwyn said.
She added that members of the public wishing to volunteer to take part in any of these activities should register to do so through www.leadsa.co.za.
In support of the campaign, The Star and other Independent Group newspapers will publish features on different types of food gardens, including rooftop gardens, suburban pavement gardens and large-scale community gardens. The Star has also committed to creating a container garden at its building in downtown Johannesburg, with the produce to be donated to organisations in the inner city.
In the Western Cape, members of the public will be invited to do their 67 minutes of volunteerism at the Oranjezicht City Farm, where they will learn the basics of planting seedlings.
Lead SA will also have a Food Truck which will collect food from different areas in the Western Cape to donate to soup kitchens and other feeding schemes in need.
LITERACY, SHELTER, FOOD SECURITY
At the launch of Nelson Mandela International Day 2014 in April, food security was identified as one of three major themes, the other two being literacy and shelter.
“Food insecurity is not just a global concern, but is affecting South Africa too,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement shortly after the launch. “According to a research report released by the Human Sciences Research Foundation (HSRC) in August, only 45.6% of the South African population is food secure.”
Foundation CEO Sello Hatang commented: “All people, at all times, should have access to sufficient, safe and nutricious foods to maintain a healthy and active life. This is a crucial social support measure for effective development and growth. Feeding activities – whether food parcels, food gardens or feeding schemes that provide long-term access to food security – can transform world hunger.”