Community vegetable gardens and school feeding schemes in the Evaton area south-west of Johannesburg are benefitting greatly from the ongoing relationship between Food & Trees for Africa and the City Lodge Hotel Group.
A September 13 visit to the Lekoa Nursery situated at the Letsema Ilima primary school illustrated just how important this relationship has become with representatives of around 50 different market gardening enterprises in the area meeting up to receive token watering cans and gardening forks and exchange views on the vital subject of vegetable production.
Food & Trees for Africa’s “ecopreneur” Wendy Tsototsi has done baseline assessments on more than 100 food gardening projects, narrowing them down to around 50 to be supported by the City Lodge Hotel Group sponsored programme. These will be supported with seeds, seedlings and a wide range of other important backup and interaction to maintain thriving vegetable gardens.
Currently, about 50 hectares of land is under vegetable cultivation in the projects selected by Wendy, but she says the potential in the area could be as high as 3,000 hectares.
The Lekoa Nursery, which has been run by Samuel Mavuso in Evaton for the past nine years, is a great example of a market gardening programme that is directly benefitting members of the local community through access to highly affordable and nutritious vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, onions, carrots and cabbages.
“What we want to do is transfer the benefits of the relationship between Food & Trees for Africa and the City Lodge Hotel Group to the people of Evaton and nearby areas,” explained Chris Wild, Food & Trees’ executive director.
“We are probably going to narrow right down to about 10 flagship projects in the area that we will strongly support so that they can have as much impact as possible.
The great thing about the City Lodge Hotel Group’s involvement is that they donate funds to Food and Trees on behalf of hotel guests who have made online bookings. So it is a “pay it forward” exercise.
The City Lodge Hotel Group has been donating to Food & Trees on behalf of its online guests since 2012.