Food-Garden Volunteers Needed, To Empower Communities

While South Africa produces enough food to feed its population, access to nutritious food remains a challenge for many.






Home and community food gardens have the potential not only to alleviate food insecurity in South Africa, but also to foster economic empowerment within local communities. Whether you are passionate about gardening, sustainability, or helping others, there are countless reasons to get involved. Here are some sustainable food-garden programmes where volunteers can make a real difference.


1) FoodForward SA

As the largest food-distribution organisation in South Africa, FoodForward SA connects a world of excess to a world of need by recovering quality edible surplus food and distributing it to community organisations that serve the poor. This NPO has recently launched a sustainable food-gardening initiative to enhance food security, advocate for sustainable farming practices, and foster economic empowerment within local communities.

With a food garden tunnel situated at their warehouse in Lansdowne, Cape Town participants are able to learn new skills. To achieve this, FoodForward SA grows its own seedlings and once the vegetables have been harvested, FoodForward SA distributes the produce to its local beneficiaries within the area.


2) Soil For Life

Soil For Life , based in Constantia, Cape Town, welcomes the help and support of volunteers both locally and globally. Through the provision of training and support to individuals wanting to grow food at home as well as to groups of gardeners involved in school and community projects, food gardens emerge in what were once bleak and barren environments. Since launching in 2002, more than 8 250 people have learnt how to develop and sustain productive home and community food gardens.





3) Good Hope Volunteers

Set in Oranjezicht, Cape Town, the unique Good Hope Volunteers urban farming project promotes sustainable farming, education, and health. This neighbourhood non-profit project was founded by volunteers and the volunteering ethos is central to everything that they do.

In addition to providing fresh produce, the farm serves as an outdoor classroom for all ages and is open free to the public six days a week. Annually, it hosts school visits for over 1 000 learners from more than 40 local schools, with another 1 000 people booking guided tours each year. Weekly pick-your-own harvests, interactive workshops, annual Heritage Day events and more, keep the community engaged and the farm humming with activity.


4) Botanical Society

The Botanical Society of South Africa calls on volunteers from across the country to contact one of their 15 branches to help in conserving our flora. While not strictly centered around food gardens, the Botanical Society enables those with “green fingers” to get involved in a host of conservation and education initiatives.

These include becoming custodians of rare and endangered wildflowers, supporting the gardens’ horticultural staff or leading garden tours as a garden guide or hike leader. Collecting seeds of indigenous plant species, as part of a collaboration with The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, is another worthy programme. Volunteers in different regions can also join their local branch committee to help run branch activities.

Extreme poverty and hunger are heart-breaking realities for thousands of South Africans. Sustainable food-garden programmes serve as powerful tools to promote local food production, enhance nutrition, foster community empowerment, and build resilience and self-sufficiency in the face of socio-economic challenges. Supporting these initiatives can contribute to more sustainable and equitable food systems that benefit communities and the environment.

There is no better time to get your hands dirty and make a tangible difference! Get involved now!





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