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Community Food Growing Project Pioneers Exciting Duplicable Nutrition Model

Image of food growing boxes

At Dreamcatcher we underpin our project activities by conducting research to identify inhibitors impacting quality of life in communities. Community engagement pre – and particularly post-Covid pandemic identified that the lack of access to nutritious food remains a challenge.

Access to fresh nutritious food improves infant, child and maternal health, develops stronger immune systems and lowers the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also positively impacts on school performance, longevity and quality of life. The cost of fresh fruit and vegetables can be a barrier where household income is already under pressure.

There has been a general lack of food growing in South African townships. Inhibitors include lack of space, knowledge and skills, access to resources such as water, and the impact of dogs and vermin destroying crops. Most subsistence farmers who grew and sold vegetables on their larger allotments and land, have passed away.

With a legacy of growing food at Dreamcatcher, post pandemic in 2022 we launched a small-scale food growing trial in boxes with the vision to empower households to grow their own food. To kickstart the project we collaborated with the Hermanus Rainbow Trust and were awarded funding by the Utopia Foundation USA for training and to run a trial. Two training programmes addressed making food growing boxes, preparing soil and growing organic food from scratch. After the training the Hermanus Rainbow Trust team returned home to develop their own project in Hermanus.

We launched a trial in Melkhoutfontein which produced high quality organically grown micro greens, vegetables and herbs which were distributed in the community with samples provided to suppliers for testing. Positive feedback from the community and market presented us with the opportunity to scale up the project on a local farm. We registered the brand Back2Front Yard Farming (B2FyF)™ developed and donated by a Canadian volunteer.

On June 15th we were joined by a group of enthusiastic South African volunteers who donated 8 planting boxes to add to our stock of boxes made from reclaimed wood made by Dreamcatcher enterprises. The volunteers also helped to plant the initial 5 food growing boxes and distributed them into the community.

This month Dreamcatcher enterprises started to distribute a further 20 food growing boxes in Melkhoutfontein. These enterprises are also providing ongoing mentoring to participating households on how to grow their own food. Once we have the Dreamcatcher Sustainable Futures Centre up and running, we will be resuming food growing on a larger scale.

We are grateful to the Utopia Foundation (USA), Pernod Picard and Dreamcatcher Nederlands for funding support and valuable resources.

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