GEORGE NEWS - The George Municipality's Food Garden Project, which was revived at the end of last year, is off to a good start with over 250 gardens identified since the project's revitalisation in November last year.
Acting Deputy Director Strategic Services Joan Shaw said the coordinators connected 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. We believe the Food Gardens Project can become a life-changing beacon of hope," she said.
The project is championed by the municipality's 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 the needs and progress of participants.
The aim is that the gardens will become sustainable throughout the year, in all 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, Borcherds, Geelhoutboom, Waboomskraal, Haarlem, Uniondale and Pacaltsdorp. Each garden is expected to yield a crop to feed five to 10 people, depending on factors such as garden size and growing conditions.
The municipality continues relationships with the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA), that had been key in the past to help provide rainwater tanks, and the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, that 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)," said Shaw.
"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."
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