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Revived food gardens project continues to grow

The George Municipality’s Food Garden Project continues to grow with 680 gardens established since its revitalisation at the end of last year.
George Municipality Communications Manager Chantel Edwards-Klose said communities across the municipal area had embraced the project as word of it spread. “We kicked the programme off with 80 gardens in November 2020, which expanded to 105 gardens by the end of January, 265 by the end of the summer planting season and now stands at 680 (June 2021).
“We are excited about the project’s potential as a consistent food source and income generator and are deeply inspired by the communities’ sense of pride in bringing food to the table to their own homes and those of neighbours. It is the latter that has motivated the handing over of the project from the municipality’s Economic Development Unit to our Community Development section so the food gardens can be integrated with other social projects such as municipal soup kitchens and creches. Economic Development will, however, continue to provide support to gardeners that may be able to extend their food production beyond subsistence.
“Among our most inspiring stories is Thembalethu resident Asanda Toyise who has had such an abundant crop of spinach and beetroot this winter he could sell the excess to visitors at the local clinic,” said Ms Edwards-Klose. (see picture attached, man holding beetroot)
The project continues to be run by coordinators who identify possible gardeners in communities 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 tables of their own families but also have extra to share, sell or barter with.
George Municipality continues to distribute 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.
“Persons in vulnerable communities interested in starting food gardens can contact the project coordinators on details below.
“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, pesticides, gardening tools and rainwater tanks.
“We believe the Food Gardens Project can become a life-changing beacon of hope,” said Ms Edwards-Klose.
Enquiries: Amy Kearns 044 801 9173 until 30 June 2021
Sophie Fanelo 044 802 2000 from 1 July 2021
Thembalethu resident Asanda Toyise had such an abundant crop of winter vegetables he could sell to visitors to the local clinic.