Grow your own food campaign is off to a good start

THE KwaZulu-Natal campaign of one home, one garden - aimed at addressing poverty - is reaching families headed by orphans and elderly people.

The department of agriculture, environmental affairs and rural development, which is pioneering the campaign, spent a day at Nseleni township on the North Coast at the weekend assisting poor families.

MEC Lydia Johnson, accompanied by agriculture portfolio committee members, dirtied their hands launching community gardens.

They planted vegetables at four homesteads that had uncultivated garden patches, which were quickly turned to green with a variety of vegetable seedlings.

The social development department donated food parcels at one homestead belonging to a sick couple with a one-week-old baby.

Community members received seed packs and indigenous fruit trees for their home gardens.

Addressing the community at Mangosuthu Stadium, Johnson made an impassioned plea to the homeowners to take good care of their gardens until the plants were ready for harvesting.

She urged people to work closely with the government in alleviating poverty at a household level by embracing the One Home, One Garden Campaign.

"Let us all be responsible for our lives and what we consume by responding to the initiative, which will save our disposable incomes because we can no longer spend our money on things we can easily produce ourselves.

"We have free seeds in the department for everyone and we will make them available for the people of KwaZulu-Natal," she said.

Johnson said it was also important for the people to embark on planting trees to green their environment.

Agriculture portfolio committee member Makhosi Ntuli expressed gratitude to the department.

"We will be coming back to see whether people are taking care of their gardens," she said.