Micro-farming for Social Development
It is estimated that chronic hunger affects at least 925 million people in the world today. Overpopulation, a lack of resources, environmental overload and poverty are some of the main contributing factors to global hunger. This, in conjunction with the ever-increasing cost of food produced by large-scale conglomerates whose goals are to produce cash crops as fast as possible, continues to debilitate the 1.4 billion people living below the poverty line.
In South Africa, nearly one million people live in the townships in Cape Town and roughly 40% of these residents are unemployed. Micro-farming presents the unique opportunity to provide skills training, create jobs and feed hungry mouths, simultaneously. But what is a micro-farm, you ask? A micro-farm is an independently operated farm which occupies small acreage. Organisations like Abalimi are embracing micro-farming as a means of improving living standards in South African townships by teaching impoverished communities to grow their own food using organic, sustainable methods.
Abalimi currently has two non-profit Garden Centre nurseries in Khayaletisha and Nyanga where they provide low-cost, subsidised gardening resources such as manure, seed, seedlings, tools and organic pest control remedies. Each year Abalimi supplies up to 11000 individual subsistence micro-farmers with the resources they need to manage their own community gardens. These gardens are community based and led to be more accessible and affordable for all.
The vision is to develop a network of community-owned garden centre depots throughout informal settlements in the Cape; while offering an array of training programmes to facilitate skills development. The social benefits of Abalimi’s agricultural projects are further enhanced by activities like mutual-help work events, farmer to farmer learning and savings mobilisation.
Here’s how you can get involved and make a difference:
- Donate funds to the Farm Garden Trust.
- Sponsor a micro-farmer online.
- Purchase organic veggies through Harvest of Hope and similar organisations.
- Grow your own home garden to ease the demand of giant farming conglomerates.
- Support local organic markets.
Visit www.abalimi.org.za to learn more about sustainable micro-farming.