Compiled by Sunette Laurie, Igenicious Hlerema, Erika van den Heever, Manaka Makgato and Nadia Araya
The global Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) describes poverty as a lack of basic resources such as health, nutri-tion, hygiene, assets, living standards and education, and all possible barriers, or contributors to a good and healthy life. A collaborative project is run by the ARC and the University of Pretoria to capacitate 25 vulnerable women from the Cemetery View Informal Settlement (Woodlands, Pretoria), with skills towards economic independence, food security and improved personal health.
On a weekly basis, the ARC presented several horticultural topics with the focus on space-efficient vegetable production as part of the establish-ment of the Imvelo Food Demonstration Garden at the Liv-ing Word Premises neighbouring the community (Fig. 1). Training included seedling production, preparing and plant-ing of the bag systems, growing Moringa, preparing bags for mushroom production using oyster mushroom spawn (Fig. 2), and the making and planting of containers with high be-ta-carotene tomatoes. Vertical production can yield 12 kg of leafy vegetables from 40 plants per bag and provides four harvests over a 2-3 month growing period.
Open field production was challenging, since it is an old building rubble dump site, but the community managed to cultivate the land after rain, and a plot of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes was established (Fig. 3). Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are particularly rich in beta-carotene. A 70 g portion provides the recommended daily allowance of vita-min A for preschool children.
Additional activities from collaborators included cooking, demonstrations, healthy eating, life skills, as well as setting up a poultry house for egg production. This project brought together qualified professionals and experts in primary health care, dietetics and nutrition, food cultivation, and ani-mal husbandry. The combination of these disciplines for tar-geted health and nutritional skills transfer will have a signifi-cant impact on vulnerable women living in the Cemetery View informal settlement.
Source: ARC-Vegetable, Industrial and Medicinal Plants Newsletter – published 11 March 2022