Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, new air was breathed into the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) urban food gardens project with the help of local rugby hero, Zane Kirchner’s NGO, Bookz and Bootz, and other stakeholders, to create sustainable food security for locals.
Cllr Dirk Wessels, Portfolio Councillor for Finance and Strategic Services, said it was decided to start up the project again, after budget constraints halted it earlier. He said the Municipality cannot ignore the major impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on everyone with job losses, people going hungry during this period and much more challenges. Wessels said the project aims to create food security and instil a sense of pride within the local communities. “These gardens can benefit the community greatly and we ask the community to take part and support the initiative”.
Wessels said the project could not be possible without the involvement of the Western Cape department of Agriculture and the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA), the Expanded Public Works Project and NGO’s like Bookz and Bootz.
Kirchner, a retired Springbok, who is currently back in George, started the NGO to provide opportunities for students. His wife, Tasneem, who is also involved in the NGO, said since the Covid-19 outbreak, they have decided to extend the span of the NGO and get involved in food security. They are both very excited to be part of the initiative.
Meanwhile, the EPWP department made money available for the salaries of eight food garden coordinators. The coordinators will work in different Wards in the George Municipal area including, Touwsranten (Ward 4), Rosedale (Ward 14), Uniondale (Ward 25) and Haarlem (Ward 24), Parkdene (Ward 8), Rosemoor (Ward 6), Thembalethu (Ward 13), Borchards (Ward 20) and Blanco (Ward 1).
The coordinators will work five days a week.
Des Carolus from the Worker Collection Point oversees the project. He says the coordinators is expected to start ten new gardens per month as part of the project. The previous food gardens will also be re-entered into the project.
According to Carolus gardeners will receive different seeds or
seedlings during each planting season.
The training of the coordinators/gardeners started on Monday November 2nd in partnership with the Skills Development Section of the Department of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
The trainees were split into groups. While the one group did theory the other group received practical training. The training facility at the Worker Collection Point and the Rosemoor Civic centre were used. The one week training session covered soil preparation and nutrition.
For more information regarding the project please contact Des Carolus or Amy Kearns on 044 801 9173.
1: Some of the gardeners receive practical training at the George Municipal Workers’ Collection Point Training facility.
In front are Cydwill Mtuze and Leroy Muller. In the second row are, Angelique Masouw, Christelene Solomons and Mandine Boesak.
In the third row are, Anadin Bans, Sandra Joubert, Angelena Pato and Mary-Anne Witbooi.
At the back are Cllr Dirk Wessels, Petrus Moller, Pumza Mabuto, Zane Kirchner, Amy Kleynhans, Andrew Fluks, Owen Filies and Des Carolus.