University garden to tackle hunger

Members of UCTs iSondlo Society and Call 2 Care preparing the grounds.

A UCT environmental group has launched the first phase of its iGardi Project to tackle student hunger on campus.

UCT’s iSondlo Society and Call 2 Care, a non-profit, along with volunteers, met at the Welgelegen gardens on Saturday October 12, to prepare the grounds for the sustainable water-wise vegetable garden

iSondlo founder Cindy Cherry said the idea had been on her mind for two years but she had decided to do something about it after a student had told her of her struggle to get enough to eat.

“Before coming to UCT, I was exposed to many incredible food security-focused initiatives back home in Johannesburg, such as the Siyakhana Garden and the Inala Garden at Wits. When I came to UCT, I was shocked that there wasn’t a similar initiative happening here. I realised this garden initiative would be a solution which would not only meet that need but surpass that. And through innovation, research, and focusing on the empowerment of individuals, this could be a project which could act as a prototype to address (and work towards eradicating) food insecurity in South Africa.”

The third-year civil-engineering student said the iGardi Project garden would supply a communal kitchen with produce to make nutritious meals for students. iSondlo, she said would encourage students getting food aid to get involved with the project.

“It is our vision to move away from the common form of aid as ‘charity give-outs’ and rather to empower individuals to meet their own basic need for nutritious food,” said Cindy.

Vounteer Monaheng Monaheng, a second-year mechanical and mechatronics student, said many students went hungry on campus, and while UCT was assisting, more needed to be done.

“I wanted to play my part and ensure that this project is a success for myself and other students,” he said.

Cindy said the long-term goal was to open a communal kitchen but for now they were working on gradually growing their membership.

“We may be starting small, but we are expecting big things and plan to look at other avenues and expertise on campus such as the medical campus, researchers and engineers,” she said.

Other future plans include the adoption of a “zero-waste” policy and expanding the garden to other parts of the campus.

Students could become involved by helping with writing, photography, design, cooking and working in the garden, said Cindy. Visit the Facebook page, iSondlo UCT, or email isondlouct@gmail.com for more information.