World Food Day is observed annually on 16 October. This global call aims to stir minds the world over of the desperate need for affordable, sustainable, nutritious and adequate food for all. This year’s theme, Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow, is a call on corporates, governments, communities and schools to grow their own food.
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, the champions in greening is encouraging residents of Joburg to get their hands dirty by cultivating their own food gardens. In a time of dire food shortages, the soaring cost of living, the global impact of another looming recession, the devastating impact of climate change, the lack of food is worst affected. Shockingly, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world where only 10% owns approximately 85% of the wealth of this country as reported by the World Bank. This inequality weighs the heaviest on the poorest of the poor as families scramble to put food on the table.
Research shows that food security is one of the most urgent crises facing South Africa today.
Even though we have enough food to feed everyone in our country, it is estimated that over 20 million South African men, women and children go to bed hungry. We produce an abundance of fresh, nutritional food but sadly 10 million tons of food goes to waste every year.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains, with essential goods falling short.
The demand for food has outgrown the need so we need to start planting, growing and enjoying our own produce,” stated Mr Marks Sethaelo, Acting Managing Director, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo.
The simple act of starting a food garden has far-reaching benefits and it’s fun!
Follow these easy steps to create your own food garden for World Food Day TODAY!
- Make sure your garden space gets full sun at least 3/4 of the day.
- 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 vegetables and fruit peels.
- Choose seasonal plants which will benefit in light, retention of moisture, drainage and soil quality. Reduce the number of weeds you might 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 and heat from the sun, 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. Retain rainwater and use grey water for your garden.
Harvest and share your produce with others.