2020 has been a really tough year for so many families around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn have pushed many vulnerable families in South Africa deeper into poverty and starvation. Giving Tuesday on 1 December, a day which forms part of a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organisations to transform their communities, is the ideal time to spread a little kindness.
Donating to this innovative Seeds for Life Campaign, which was launched by INMED South Africa earlier this year, will help provide free seeds and training to 2 500 families on the brink of starvation, with future assistance to ensure the gardens and families thrive.
According to Dr Sandra Pretorius, Programme Director for INMED’s Health in Action programme, food security begins in the backyard. “Home and community gardens are a simple solution to improve access to nutritious food,” she says. “Our team has nearly two decades of experience helping individuals, schools and communities implement adaptive agriculture projects to strengthen food security and build sustainable livelihoods in all types of environments.”
Pretorius says from mid July to November the teams have managed to support 519 households, 278 of which are children in Gauteng and Port Elizabeth. She says 37% of these households reported anxiety about not having enough to eat. “The INMED SA Health in Action teams regularly visit these households to assist with advice where needed. In spite of the challenges experienced by a number of the households including birds eating their seedlings, poor soil, scarcity of a consistent water supply for the gardens and pests infiltrating their new gardens, 60-70% of households still managed to produce seedlings and vegetables from some, or all of the seeds they received,” says Pretorius.
“It is wonderful to see the pride these families take in their new garden and what they are able to achieve, not only being able to feed themselves, but in some instances even starting to generate an income by selling some product to the community.”
INMED’s Seeds for Life project has many potential long-term impacts, including improved physical and mental health leading to a reduction in preventable lifestyle diseases as well as financial savings.
INMED South Africa is also working with seed companies, such as Sakata, to support this initiative as well as with its Health in Action sponsor, Mondelēz International Foundation, who have already donated the first 250 packs of seeds.
“If support for the campaign grows, and we receive enough donations, we will be able to roll out the programme to other provinces in our footprint too,” says Pretorius.
For more information and to support this campaign, please visit https://inmed.org.za/ or https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/seeds-for-life-south-africa/.