By Nolitha Ngamlana
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 3 of VARSITY News.
The UCT GCI society was established in 2007 with the mission and aim of creating a greener and sustainable campus. Recently, UCT’s Green Campus Initiative, with the support and help from an organisation called iGardi, have made plans to set up the Isondlo Garden (meaning a provision in isiXhosa) on middle camps by May or latest June. Cindy Cherry, the founder of the Isondlo UCT Community Garden shares her story on how she started the garden:
Before coming to UCT, I was exposed to various food security initiatives at home in Johannesburg. These initiatives included the Siyakhana garden and the Inala Garden at Wits, which both focus on food security and research into food security and nutrition in South Africa.
When I came to UCT, I was shocked that there wasn’t a similar initiative/movement happening here. My interest was further sparked when I had decided to research more and recognised the reality of student hunger on campus, especially after I had encountered some individuals who faced this challenge daily. I realised that this garden initiative would be a solution which would not only meet that need but surpass it as well.
Through innovation research, particularly into agro-ecology, nutrition, health, socio-economic impacts, wise water-usage, methods of sustainable agriculture, and focusing on the empowerment of individuals – this could be a project which could address food insecurity, not only for our campus, but further act as a prototype to address and work towards eradicating food insecurity in South Africa.
Cindy shares that part of the purpose of the garden is to create a communal kitchen where there will be a distribution of nutritious meals prepared from the produce of the garden. Cindy says that this would be in line with creating #ZeroHungerAtUCT.
The Isondlo garden also aims to bring a sense of empowerment to the students receiving food aid, by encouraging them to become involved in this project that they are benefitting from.
Cindy further comments, that it is Isondlo’s vision to reject the common form of aid as “charity give-outs,” but to empower individuals to meet their own basic needs for nutritious food. We would also like to create the spread of knowledge and skills of food sustainability and food sovereignty through workshops and training of members in sustainable agriculture.
Cindy concludes by saying: “We have many sub-committees in which individuals can get involved. They touch on various roles, which could range from writing a blog, photography, the design of the structural components (the communal kitchen), cooking in the communal kitchen, and working in the garden.”
To find out more about these (and how to join our sub-comms) simply visit their Facebook page.