GCBR Micro Fund: Sowing the seeds of change and sustainability

Feb 2, 2022 | Micro Fund

Towards the end of last year the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) provided funding for 20 organic vegetable-garden starter kits where 10 were donated to Gerrit du Plessis High School in Riversdale and the other 10 donated to 10 households in Railton, Swellendam aiming to combat household hunger.

The organic vegetable-garden starter kits are a uniquely South African product, developed through the company Seed 2 Harvest.

With population growth escalating worldwide the burden on food security increases, bringing with it an increase in health concerns and shorter life expectancies for disadvantaged communities which are most affected by the food crisis. Many of these communities lack access to sufficient nutrition of high quality and nutritional value, and the global food crisis only exacerbates this problem. This is no different for disadvantaged communities in South Africa, who are increasingly dependent on purchasing food for sustenance. Naturally, the quality and sufficiency of their diets are therefore linked to what they can afford, and as food prices increase, and the pandemic takes its toll on the economy and available jobs, so the diets of these communities become further compromised.

It was in response to these challenges that Seed 2 Harvest sought to find a sustainable solution that would put the control of nutrition back in the hands of those who need it the most.  The mission of Seed 2 Harvest is to establish one food garden in every household throughout as many communities as possible combatting household and community hunger.

Along with establishing and teaching individuals and communities how to grow their own food, Seed 2 Harvest also seeks to educate their recipients and the broader public about good health, nutrition and food security.

The organic vegetable-garden starter kits are innovatively designed, using a combination of heirloom vegetable and herb seeds and organic support materials (e.g. organic fertilizers), making the successful and sustainable growth of food plants accessible to anyone, with minimum effort.

Seed 2 Harvest also runs school and community projects, which combine the provision of organic vegetable-garden starter kits with training, implementation and construction (of vegetable gardens) by the Seed 2 Harvest team. Gerrit du Plessis High School was the recipient of such a project towards the close of last year, where Agri-training and Agri-business specialist Shaun Cairns of Seed 2 Harvest established a 300m2 vegetable garden (10 starter packs) which has the potential to produce approximately 500kg of fresh organic vegetables. Through instruction from Cairns, the learners were taught how to prepare and establish the garden, and how to plant the seeds and use all the products in the starter kits.

Through the establishment of this vegetable garden, the Gerrit du Plessis High School students will not only learn about how to successfully grow their own food and produce optimal yields using organic farming, but they will also be providing a source of high-quality food for themselves and their community, and potentially a source of income – additional yields allow for the opportunity to sell the extra produce.

The project was made possible by the GCBR Flexible Micro-Fund, a fund managed by the GCBR board of directors, awarded to outstanding small initiatives and projects within the domain. Initiatives that are eligible for support need to address a specific need within the domain and be relevant to the community or group in which they are implemented. They also need to be relevant to at least two of GCBR’s six priority themes (namely Land and Landscapes; Water resources; Biodiversity; Economic Diversity and Livelihoods; Education; Knowledge and Learning; Institutions and their Relations).

For more information see the GCBR Flexible Micro Fund or view past beneficiaries.

To find out more about the great work that Seed 2 Harvest does, or to buy your own organic vegetable-garden starter kits or other great products visit the Contact Us – Seed 2 Harvest page for more inquiries

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