The George Municipality’s Food Garden Project, which was revived at the end of last year, is off to a good start with 265 gardens identified since the project’s revitalisation in November 2020.
George Municipality Acting Deputy Director Strategic Services Joan Shaw said coordinators prioritised connection with previous participants of the programme. “News of the revived project started spreading and we expect to have at least 265 gardens established in this planting season. We are confident that numbers will grow as the project gathers momentum.”
The project is championed by the George Municipality Economic Development unit and is run by a team of coordinators who identify possible gardeners and oversee the establishment of small vegetable gardens in their backyards.
The coordinators guide the process from soil preparation to harvest and visit regularly to mentor and check on their needs and progress. The aim is that the gardens will become sustainable throughout the year according to the seasons and that gardeners will ultimately not only put food on the table for their own families but also have extra to share, sell or barter with.
George Municipality helped kick off the planting season for winter crops by distributing seeds to participating gardeners in Blanco, Touwsranten, Rosemoor, Thembalethu, Rosedale, Conville, Borchards, Geelhoutboom, Waboomskraal, Haarlem, Uniondale and Pacaltsdorp.
Each garden is expected to yield a crop to feed 5 to 10 people, depending on a range of factors including garden size and growing conditions.
The municipality continues relationships with the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) which had been key in the past to help provide rainwater tanks to food garden participants and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture who has been facilitating training and mentoring, and assisting with funding, extensions and advisory services.
Long-term plans include the establishment of food markets in participating communities when the projects are established enough to consistently provide surplus crops.
“Persons in vulnerable communities interested in starting a food garden are welcome to contact the project coordinators on the numbers below or visit the Workers Collection Point in Industria Road (opposite the Tekkie Town factory shop).
“The municipality welcomes involvement and support from business, NGOs and individuals who can assist in the long-term sustainability of the project. Ongoing needs include seeds, compost, gardening tools and rainwater tanks.
“We believe the Food Gardens Project can become a life-changing beacon of hope,” said Ms Shaw.
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