A non-profit organisation and religious leaders joined hands to start a food garden in Manenberg, and its first crop has already fed a number of people.
On Wednesday April 27, the community food garden was launched, thanks to a partnership between the Manenberg Ministers’ Fraternal, the Religious Leaders Task Team and non-profit organisation, Heart Response 4 All.
Marlon Petersen, from Heart Response 4 All, said the seed for this initiative was planted during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
“This initiative started out as a food distribution initiative, which was implemented by the then mayor’s office. The mayor called religious leaders together to see how to respond to the food shortages, and 50 leaders from various communities joined the task team,” Mr Petersen said.
“It was decided to grow food to help with sustainable food supply. As Heart Response 4 All, we were tasked to start food gardens. However, with financial support from the Religious Task Team, we were able to train communities and source compost and seedlings, among others.”
In Manenberg, the Green Pastures church had sufficient ground for the food garden. A well point was put in place, and fencing and nets were also erected.
Pastor Andrew May from Green Pastures said the idea of the food garden was initiated by the Manenberg Ministers’ Fraternal, as they wanted to make a difference in the community.
“We jumped at the opportunity when the fraternal was looking for space for the food garden. We were looking for ways to help alleviate food shortages, and our first harvest was distributed freely,” Mr May said.
“I believe this is the first organic food garden in Manenberg. The idea is not to make a profit. However, we hope to sell the vegetables at a nominal rate, so as to sustain the garden. We hope that businesses will get involved eventually, but for now, we hope to supply soup kitchens and sell it at an affordable price to the community.”
Children who belong to a local cycling club have already taken ownership of the garden, and they were among the recipients of the first crop.
“The children would go in the evening to the garden to hunt for the worms who ate the crops. The worms only make their appearance at night. So they used torches to find them. I am excited that the community has taken ownership of the garden. The journey was long, but the outcome is worth it,” Mr Petersen said.
The first crop of spinach was donated to those who attended the launch, and other vegetables growing there include cabbage, spring onions, and leeks.