Food Gardens and World Hunger

The latest report from the World Bank makes for grim reading. They estimate that in the past year a further 44 million people have been pushed into poverty, reaching a global total of almost a billion people.

The scary part of this is that more than a quarter of that is in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. That’s right here on our doorstep, and since rising food costs was the spark that started off the wave of unrest across the entire middle east, it is time to sit up and take notice.

In the past year food prices have increased by almost a third. This has lead to civil unrest spreading to other regions, such as the recent riots in South America, and countless other sympathetic displays of  protest across the world. This is not something that will go away easily. Prices of essential staple products such as rice, wheat and corn are expected to continue to rise in the next year over uncertain weather conditions  and dwindling food stocks,  and it is clear that urgent and immediate action is essential.

One organisation that is tackling the issue of sustainable living, was formed as a result of the June 16 riots in Soweto, Gauteng. The riots lead to severe food shortages and the Food Gardens Foundation (FGF) was established as a result of this by two private individuals, Pauline Raphaely (a geologist) and Joyce Niland (a farmer’s wife). Operating since 1976, they saw a need to introduce food gardens in Soweto, later called Peace Gardens, for which the organisation won many awards.

The basic concept is to teach people to help themselves, giving them the skills to grow their own essential foods, and in a sustainable way that conforms to organic principles.

According to the Food Gardens Foundation their vision is

“the empowerment of people to overcome malnutrition, famine, hunger and the effects of desease. Food Gardens Foundation achieves community development and social upliftment by teaching people small-scale low-cost organic Food Gardening which in turn:

* improves their health and quality of life

* helps them to escape from the grip of poverty and helplessness by achieving a High Level of Household Food Security

* self-actualisation

* self-employment

Organic trenchbed gardening, according to our specific method (called ‘Food Gardening’), makes efficient use of normal domestic and other organic waste to revitalise the soil and feed the vegetables.

It is time we all started being more pro-active, do you have a food garden at home? Instead of wastefully watering an exotic and thirsty garden, what about a more sustainable indigenous garden, or better yet a food garden on the principles above?


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