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Food gardens bring relief

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The acting managing director of Johannesburg City Parks, Bryne Maduka, urged residents to start their own food gardens in the city.

Stopping hunger: One garden at a time

The global impact of the recession, increasing urbanisation and the anticipated changes in the weather will impact on food security.

"Demand will outgrow supply if we do not start planning ahead," he said.

World Food Day, observed globally on October 16, aims to raise public awareness of the food crisis and to encourage solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

The world's leading environmentalists have warned that the global food supply system could collapse at any point. This stems from the growing demand for food, compounded by ever-increasing prices.

This will result in the poorest of the poor absorbing the biggest impact. Cities such as Johannesburg can contain the effects by putting in place co-operatives that are able to manage and share harvests at a community level.

Johannesburg City Parks has recently planted 7 000 fruit trees and rolled out 42 food gardens in schools and various public institutions.

City Parks has also developed plans in initiate a large-scale urban agriculture site in the far north of the City to encourage farming by small and micro-enterprises.

These programmes provide much-need nutrition to vulnerable learners and simultaneously foster high levels of environmental awareness in the respective benefiting communities.

The City of Joburg, through its growth and development strategy (GDS), aims to provide a resilient, liveable and sustainable urban environment to its residents.

"The simple act of starting a food garden has far-reaching implications", said Maduka. "This is a vital tool in teaching us all to respect and nurture our environment to enable this life source to reciprocate by providing us with a healthy meal".

Create yur own food garden today

Follow these simple five steps to create your own food garden

• Establish your garden space to absorb maximum exposure to the sun.

• Fortify the soil with organic material such as a good compost. Tilling good, fertile soil with your less than fertile soil will help ensure your vegetables get the nutrients they need to grow healthy, disease-free produce. Make your own compost from garden trimmings and kitchen waste

• Choose plants that will be well adjusted to each spot, in respect of light, moisture, drainage and soil quality. Reduce the number of weeds you have to contend with by applying mulch

• The best time to water plants is usually in the morning. Why? Mornings tend to be cool and without strong winds, so the amount of water lost to evaporation is reduced. If you water in the evening plants stay damp overnight, making them more likely to be damaged by fungal and bacterial diseases. Ideally, you want to water the roots, not the greenery, which is easily damaged. Harvest rain water to contain costs.

• Share your produce with others, freeze or pickle and produce you can not use immediately.

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