With the JDC, SAUFFT and a serving of Mensch
By Jodi Ramsay
Are you aware that hunger or lack of a nutrient rich diet in South Africa is not because of a shortage of food supply?
We are a food rich country. We have plenty of food. Rather, this dearth stems from an institutionalised food system that fails to provide food security. A system that creates hunger and is governed in ways that all but ignore the reality of informality in South Africa — a shortcoming exposed with devastating consequences during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
A mere 14 km from the Cape Town CBD in the under-resourced community of Langa, one finds The Langa Agrihub — brainchild of the non-profit SA Urban Food and Farming Trust (SAUFFT) — the parent organisation of the popular Oranjezicht City Farm and creator of the OZCF Market.
Partnered to this project is the JDC — a leading global Jewish humanitarian organisation headquartered in Israel and the USA — who feel a responsibility to serve non-Jewish populations in line with the Jewish values of tikkun olam. They bring donor funding, Israel agtech, curiosity and learning right here to our local Langa community.
Together with the Masakhe Foundation, a local Langa non-profit — the aim is to increase the resilience of existing food producers, create more local agency within the food system, and contribute to a more circular local food economy.
The project establishes local supporting infrastructure to provide needed farming inputs (such as seedlings and compost), and offer services (such as tool hire, pack house, agriprocessing, market access, etc.) to help urban farmers working on farms scattered throughout Langa sustain their trade, eat and earn more income by working as part of a network facilitated through the Agrihub.
As part of the collab, the JDC works with local South African Jewish Social Justice Organisation, Network and NGO, Mensch. Mensch’s role here is to create impactful engagement across our two communities: To create market access via Jewish community procurement opportunities; to learn and share knowledge; to encourage the Agrihub as a space for experiential curricula-based learning for Jewish youth; to invite corporate team builds; to organise Jewish driven volunteering days; and to showcase the outcome benefits of Israeli agtech and innovation.
To start the engagement, for Mandela Day Mensch together with SAUFFT and local social Enterprise Ikhaya Le Langa organised a Soup-A-Thon. A ‘farm to table’ Langa experience celebrating food sustainability and inter-community opportunity. We planted 140kg of beautiful, organic and nutritious ingredients, paid the local farmers at market rate, and together with over 120 Jewish volunteers, cut and chopped all in two hours to make over 500 litres of soup — a meal for over 1500 Langa residents.
This engagement has now been extended into the monthly Langa Agritour. Here we meet the farmers, visit the Agrihub facilities, share in the vision and growth, learn about the local economy and workshop ways to become more involved.
For the first tour in late August, there was representation from Jewish youth group — Netzer, The Cape Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Community Services (JCS), The Eliot Osrin Leadership Institute (EOLI), The Cape SA Jewish BOD, and Mensch Network Members and volunteers.
This is what people are saying
“A most inspiring and enriching morning! From the Jewish Community and the Langa Community. The visit re-ignited and deepened my enthusiasm for food gardening and its value in the field (or garden) of community development”.
“One visit — so many opportunities to create sustainability where it works best — the ability for people to earn income.”
Outcomes are already palpable with opportunities to procure food monthly, and further ideas for on-going collaboration.
If you are interested in finding out more about Mensch (www.mensch.org.za), or join a tour, please contact email@example.com
• Published in the October 2022 Digital Edition – Click here to read it.
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