Journal Article

Growing or connecting? An urban food garden in Johannesburg

Jane Wills, Frances Chinemana and Michael Rudolph

in Health Promotion International

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 33-41
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online November 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Growing or connecting? An urban food garden in Johannesburg

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Issues of food security are of particular importance in urban areas in Africa and government policy advises on the household growing of vegetables for nutrition. The Siyakhana project is a food garden in the centre of Johannesburg which was established by a University Health Promotion Unit with the support of other stakeholders including the City authorities and a permaculture organization. It was set up with the objective of providing food for children attending early-childhood development centres and for the beneficiaries of non-governmental organizations providing home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS. One year after start-up, an evaluation was conducted, based on the measures of outcome identified as significant by those involved in the project. Its impact on health is not yet measurable, but as the amounts of fruits and vegetables available and consumed in South Africa are low compared with WHO recommendations, it is a useful addition to food security in an urban area. Mobilizing around the food garden supported bonding among homogenous but separate third-sector organizations, through increased opportunities for networking which built trust, reciprocity and resource exchange. The project also provides a model for a community–university partnership providing opportunities for service learning by students and for social investment by the university.

Keywords: food gardens; urban health; food security; South Africa

Journal Article.  5103 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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