Food for the future: Lonmin’s community food gardens

Our nutrition programme has matured well since its inception in 2008. What began as the simple provision of basic foodstuffs and fresh fruit and vegetables, went on to encompass the establishment of kitchen facilities at local schools and the development of food gardens at schools and community-based food centres, with a view to shifting focus onto sustainable projects.

In 2012 we harvested our first crops, of onion, potatoes, cabbages, celery and several herbs, to name a few.

In addition to the infrastructure and investment, training is also provided on permaculture and households are encouraged to go and establish their own gardens. Once we are confident that someone has demonstrated the right commitment to their garden, we donate seedlings to start the crops and show him/her how to harvest seeds from the crop. Currently, we have 103 thriving food gardens in Marikana and Limpopo. A prize-giving event was held in each area in August 2013 to award the best gardens and to motivate schools and communities to maintain their food gardens.

The volunteers for one of our HIV/Aids programmes in Silindini, in the Eastern Cape, also established a food garden near the multi-purpose community centre and bridge that were built by Lonmin. This group distributes the harvest to community members in need.