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Priority #1: Let’s feed everyone

I am often banging on about being #PresidentFor1Day. I would focus on hunger, the root of so much failure, anger, evil and desperation. Parents wouldn’t have to put their children to bed hungry, scholars would not be expected to learn on empty stomachs, no one could have to dig through rubbish bins to find food discarded by others, everyone could take their meds.

It is so hard to understand how this very basic right of everyone having enough nourishing food to eat seems to be so far down the list of things we fight for … while living in a land of natural abundance on the most fertile of continents.

So it was a lovely surprise to find this article on the City of Cape Town’s website about Urban Farming Training for unemployed youth in the Philippi Horticultural Area (republished as I found it):

Urban farming training – first cohort in a co-ordinated approach towards self-sustainability

The Cape Town Metro is facing rapid urbanisation.  The ongoing expansion of urban areas, especially informal settlements, poses severe challenges to food security for its inhabitants. To address these challenges, the City of Cape Town initiated Urban Farming Training to unemployed youth in the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA).

The planned training commenced on 16 March 2020 at Agrimark at the Philippi Farm in Philippi and ended today, Friday, 12 June 2020 (training was temporarily suspended during levels 4 and 5 of the national lockdown).
A total of 50 youth from the Philippi precinct area were originally earmarked for the training. Of the 50, a total of 33 attended.

The trainees are from the Siqalo, Philippi, Pelican Park, Samora Machel, Kosovo, Schaap Kraal, and Nyanga areas and are between the ages of 20 – 35.
‘The City of Cape Town is surrounded by pockets of informal urban farming. To successfully make an impact in these communities, the City’s Urban Management Directorate as the lead directorate will interact with communities as well as internal and external stakeholders, and will identify other areas that will also benefit from this type of urban farming training.
‘The City will also look at the necessary infrastructure and other forms of assistance for these urban farming communities and nodes.  The training will enhance their cultivation and marketing skills and provide proper financial planning abilities.  In order for communities to become self-sustaining, these types of opportunities together with proper coordination will have a big impact in reducing poverty,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.

Trainees were introduced to important agribusiness skills such as land measurements and planning, crop or vegetable planning and analysis, farm activity planning, contract and community markets.
The training methods used took the form of simulations, group discussions, and presentations, as well as plenary sessions. Besides using simulations to address agribusiness issues, participants had the opportunity to relate their training experiences to familiar situations.
Participants were divided into three agribusiness groups to compete against one another by running a virtual agribusiness. Simulation tools based on key agricultural concepts such as land and crop planning, crop rotation, maintenance, harvest, capacity and markets were employed to stimulate learning. The methodologies used made it easier for participants to demonstrate and interpret concepts.

At the end of the training, the evaluation was conducted with the 33 participants. There was unanimous agreement by the trainees that the following was achieved:

  • A better understanding of the agricultural environment.
  • The importance of planning, especially regarding farming operations.
  • Understanding land as an economic unit and its role to sustainable farming.
  • The knowledge and skills required to conduct sustainable gardening or farming.

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