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Urban agriculture initiatives are a key component of the City of Johannesburg’s food security plans to deliver employment opportunities and nutritionally balanced food to disadvantaged families. 

COMMEMORATING World Food Day on 16 October the City of Johannesburg donated seeds from the business community and City employees to child-headed families, co-operatives and schools at Bambanani Food and Herbs Garden Project in Bertrams, Johannesburg. The City of Johannesburg donated the seeds to ensure that no one goes to bed hungry in Johannesburg. 

 seed campaignJoburg City launched the Seed Collection campaign earlier this year and called on citizens and City employee to join hands in a fight against hunger by establishing food gardens to feed and create jobs for disadvantaged families. The seed collection campaign is an integral part of the City’s food resilience plan to promote urban agriculture.

The City aims to mobilise households, small entrepreneurial farmers, large supermarket chains and farming cooperatives to eliminate hunger and ensure healthy, stable diets for communities.

  Councillor Nonceba Molwele, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development in the City of Joburg said, “As part of the countdown to the metropolis meeting in Johannesburg … the city launched the Seed Collection campaign, an initiative that sought to rally residents to join hands with the City and fight against hunger and food insecurity.” Delegates from 120 of the world's leading cities attended the meeting, held from 16-19 July 2013.

 The Seed Collection campaign was one way in which the City contributed to the meeting’s theme: Caring Cities. It campaign reinforces Joburg's 2040 Growth and Development Strategy, which builds a collective and shared vision of a vibrant, equitable African city with a resilient and adaptive society.

 A wider food security net

“More importantly the campaign signified one of the steps that the city is taking to give life to the Agriculture and Food Security Programme and a larger food resilience agenda – one of the city’s ten priorities aiming to address poverty and inequality by generating employment and sustainable livelihoods,” said Molwele. 

She added, “The event today marks the culmination of the campaign that sought to make a clarion call to all sectors of our City - employees, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society - to buy vegetable seeds and donate them to child-headed families, co-operatives and schools with food gardens.”  

  “The generosity of the people of Joburg came through in this campaign and we are grateful to all those who responded.  Their actions have not only shown ubuntu but continue to inspire our approach to creating caring, responsive and sustainable communities where the needs of society often supersede those of the individual,” said Molwele.

 Award-winning urban co-operatives

Bambanani Food and Herbs Garden Project is one of the City of Johannesburg’s developed and supported organic food gardens. It was awarded a Mma-Tshepo Khumbane (MTK) award in 2011 by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the category Best Community Based Natural Resources Management Project. 

Introduced in 2007, the Mma-Tshepo Khumbane (MTK) Awards in natural resource management awards excellence and innovation of individuals, community groups and civil society organisations, in the sustainable management of natural resources in Gauteng.

Bambanani Food and Herb was registered as a co-operative in 2007 and aims to ensure that poor and vulnerable households have access to nutritionally balanced household food security through natural and sustainable agricultural methods.

The project results from collaboration between the City of Joburg and the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The City has provided vegetable seeds and some of the necessary land to develop the communal garden. It also plays a supportive and facilitative role through project leadership and identifying participants from the poor household database. The provincial department has provided equipment, training, and professional guidance, and monitors progress regularly.