This project, funded by the Green Trust and the DG Murray Trust, sets out to improve the potential for good nutrition in communities neighbouring the demonstration sites established by eThekwini Municipality in their agroecological hubs programme. This focuses on increasing access and consumption of healthy, nutritious food for women and adolescent girls (to lay a strong foundation for healthy and productive society).
Although the platform as a whole provides an opportunity for agroecological transitions, Woza Nami is specifically focused on agroecology. There are seven agroecology hubs established in eThekwini Metro as part of their resilience strategy. SAFL is working with the Inchanga Agroecology Hub to strengthen connections to local communities through understanding and stimulating demand for local produce. The hubs have been established as training and resource centres with people taking their skills back into their communities. They are situated in strategic points across the metropole, supporting the seven main zones of the municipality.
Some of the hubs have scientific facilities including a fish hatchery and broodstock ponds, a seed bank, tissue culture and other laboratories for research processes.
One, situated in Umbumbulu, provides a training, packing, and marketing and coordination venue for growers. The Newlands-Mashu Permaculture Centre is a site of permaculture demonstration and learning, which has the potential to “provision” larger numbers of people in the KwaMashu area, as do the Inchanga and Mariannridge demonstration gardens. The Hambanathi Hub has helped establish an active farmer organisation and has connections with a local retailer.
The Inchanga hub has an active reach into neighbouring communities in terms of supplying fresh produce with potential in local ECD Centres, schools, and a local place of care for disabled people. Following participatory processes and careful consultation with councillors and other community leaders, these food flows will be strengthened through community education, research and programming.
This is to sustain a demand for nutritious, healthy foods produced using agroecological practices. This will be done through understanding the neighbouring community with a component of this work focused on gaining insight into parents’ knowledge, perceptions and use of indigenous and traditional plants. This will also assess children’s acceptance of and preference for dishes made with such plants including African leafy vegetables, Swiss chard, amadumbe amongst others. The study, built around focus group discussions, will inform a strategy to promote indigenous and traditional plants within neighbouring communities and for potential inclusion of micronutrient-rich African leafy vegetables in school feeding programmes. This approach will in turn inform the production strategy of the Hub.
A relationship with the PGS Pollinator Programme, which is active in eThekwini, will build community support structures to sustain the initiative around Inchanga. This promotes a system of organic assurance for farmers selling into local markets and a model of community development that supports food security and sovereignty. PGS enables local market outlets for farmers’ produce and can play a role in seed banks for farmers. The intention is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge among stakeholders. Support is provided to the farmers’ association by giving the group a clear focus through PGS.
The WWF Nedbank Green Trust, founded in 1990 by Nedbank and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA), funds innovative projects to help solve some of the greatest societal and environmental challenges in South Africa. True to our motto, ‘igniting new ways for people and nature to thrive’, we have, over the years, sought new paths, points of connection and solutions to ensure that people prosper. Our passion is for people and nature to coexist in harmony for the benefit of our country and the wellbeing of all. The trust is funded through the Nedbank Green Affinity Programme, which has so far helped raise more than R300 million to support over 200 diverse environmental projects throughout South Africa.
DGMT sees itself as a strategic investor and public innovator, rather than a grant-maker. DGMT is a public innovator committed to developing South Africa’s potential through strategic investment. Their goal for South Africa is a flourishing people, economy and society.