The City of Cape Town is today hosting a conference for approximately 300 role players involved in the food gardening sector and other food security-related projects. The event provides a platform for sharing ideas, as well as a networking opportunity for participants.
Fulfilling our commitment to being a caring city requires a targeted effort to care for the marginalised and vulnerable groups and individuals in Cape Town. Given Cape Town’s economic environment, with too many residents living below the poverty line, indigent programmes and other measures aimed at creating economic opportunity take on a new importance. As such, as part of the programme for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the City today hosted an event for approximately 500 participants in the food gardening and food security sectors. The theme of the event is ‘Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: ending poverty in all its forms’.The facilitation of urban food gardening fits this theme very effectively, and as such is the cornerstone of the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate’s Poverty Alleviation Programme. Since the first roll-out of the food garden support programme in the 2013/14 financial year, the Directorate has lent support to approximately 200 community food gardens – 28 of them at City-owned Early Childhood Development centres. It was for this reason that it was made the focus of this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
‘Food gardens are crucial to ensuring food security and also have the potential to become income-generating opportunities. They promote better nutrition and facilitate social interaction which can help build a sense of community – another buffer against poverty. As such, the Poverty Alleviation Programme provides support to community gardens (both established and new) in the form of training, equipment and seedlings,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.
The City has made good progress in helping to establish food gardens, but there is still much potential for growth. Furthermore, while there have been numerous success stories, there have also been challenges – not least of which is the lack of enthusiasm from communities who could benefit from such schemes.
‘We are hopeful that bringing so many people together under the banner of eradicating poverty through food security will enhance awareness of these initiatives as well as give new energy to ongoing programmes. We hope that role players will use the opportunity today to network, share ideas, and otherwise refine their operations,’ said Councillor Little.
Participants at the event are also discussing how to incorporate small-scale urban livestock farms into the Poverty Alleviation Programme. Discussions are focusing on how best the City can assist these residents with available resources.