Putting food first

2015-09-17 06:00
PHOTOS: supplied


Leopold Chikwadze, a knowledgeable man responsible for the Midi permaculture garden.

PHOTOS: supplied Leopold Chikwadze, a knowledgeable man responsible for the Midi permaculture garden.

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MSUNDUZI Innovation and Development Institute (Midi) recently held a “food security forum” which served as a platform for conversation, collaboration, learning and partnership to take place between community members, organisations, government and businesses, addressing food insecurity.

The first forum took place two years ago and has gained increased momentum which has resulted in four other forums taking place.

“All forums are community based showcasing different models of agriculture from large commercial organic farming at Broadleaze Farm to small-scale community gardens at Eden Kids Trust at Jika Joe informal settlement,” said Samantha Govender, project leader.

She said the forum was successful in bringing in businesses to assist community-led gardens with seedlings and compost as well as skills training. It also allowed for bartering and the sharing of resources such as seedlings and seeds among communities.

With the help of Midi’s permaculture expert, Leopold Chikwadze, Midi was able to create a “model permaculture” garden at the Pietermaritzburg Child and Youth Care Centre and Midi offices.

Govender explained that permaculture is a way of agriculture that promotes the natural workings of an ecosystem.

“No chemicals are used in the garden, rather inter-planting vegetables with different herbs, indigenous plants, and flowers. The idea is to attract useful insects to the garden,” she said.

The garden also promotes the idea of reuse by planting potatoes in buckets, strawberries in gutters, herbs in tyre rims, making a pond of an old tyre and bird feeders and drip irrigation out of two litre plastic bottles.

“Permaculture also stresses the need for water conservation. Mulching, drip irrigation, water harvesting, use of grey water, indigenous plants and swales are some of the water conserving methods used in a permaculture garden,” said Govender. The next forum will be on 6 November. - Supplied

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