You are what you eat.
We’ve all heard that phrase a million times before and science has proven that a healthy diet is indeed key to a healthy life.
Access to fresh produce is, however, a huge challenge for many rural communities, as travelling to commercial centres for grocery shopping can be expensive.
Fortunately, there will always be the change-makers who are passionate about improving lives.
We are proud to #ActForChange with a number of these everyday heroes by supporting community food gardens. Here are four that not only offer nutritious meals to vulnerable people but also have a healing impact on the community as a whole!
Ekukhuseleni Tshireletso Hospice, Gauteng
In 2004, Dr Russel Marivate (86) and Tulani Radebe (67) started the Ekukhuseleni Tshireletso Hospice to provide palliative care to people affected by HIV/AIDS in Soshanguve’s Winterveldt community.
“We started the project after seeing many people dying from HIV/AIDS during the 1990s. There were no antiretroviral drugs available then and we just wanted to provide a little comfort for people in their last days,” Tulani explains.
An important part of their project was to create a food garden that would provide fresh vegetables to patients.
Unfortunately, they lacked the resources and knowledge to expand the garden. So, with the support of
Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA), we stepped in and transformed the backyard garden into a sustainable agricultural enterprise.
With seedlings, farming equipment and training, Ekukhuseleni can now sell fresh vegetables to the community at affordable prices. It also
Iris House Hospice, Western Cape
In 2012, Sue van der Linde founded Iris House Hospice to provide care for 12 special needs children. Now, seven years later, it provides specialised therapies, home-based support and respite care for more than 300.
With this rapid growth, it has been a challenge to keep food costs manageable, while still providing nutritious meals.
One of the ways Sue and her team have done this is to create a food garden.
In partnership with Urban Harvest, we’ve supported Iris House by creating a more sustainable garden. The team is now instrumental in transferring gardening knowledge to the local community.
Lillydale Home-based Care Centre, Mpumalanga
When Minah Ndlovu, Lonny Mathebula, Flora Mashilini and Florence Mnisi became aware of the devastating impact HIV/AIDS was having on their community, they knew it was time to take matters into their own hands.
They set up the Lillydale Home-based Care Centre in 2005 to support community members who were battling disease.
As their mission expanded, an even greater concern confronted them: with so many bedridden parents,
The women responded by baking bread and delivering food parcels to as many vulnerable families as they could reach. But without an income, it became clear that they required a self-sustaining solution to beat hunger in their community. So, they started a food garden.
We have since lent our support to secure the garden’s sustainability. This involved building and preparing new beds to optimise production, repairing boreholes and providing seeds, fertilizer and equipment.
Today the food garden at Lillydale Home-Based Care Centre ensures that young, elderly and sick community members obtain vital nutrition whilst surplus food is sold to generate extra income.
Retshewenyegile Home-Based Care Centre, North West
Located near Taung in the North West, Retshewenyegile is a non-profit organisation (NPO) run by 16 men and women. They provide home-based care for orphaned or vulnerable children, as well as patients living with HIV/AIDS and TB.
Through the cultivation of a garden, they have also found a way to provide vegetables for 800 patients year-round.
Led by project manager, Bokang Sebokolodi, the Retshewenyegile Home-Based Care Centre distributes crops such as spinach, onion, tomato and green pepper to residents when caregivers visit their homes. Any surplus is sold to the community to finance the costs of maintaining their borehole.
We’ve been supporting the Centre by hosting a series of workshops to promote the importance of better nutrition and to boost the garden’s productivity. Topics included cover crop rotation, soil health, companion planting, natural remedies and pest management.
We’ve also replaced old, rusty and damaged tools; installed a
Are you healing your community with food? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to send us an email.