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News and Resources

Growing Resilient Communities: Urban Food Security Exchange


News and Resources
By Kate Greavette, Rooftops Canada Intern
 
“Use garlic to treat mould; for pests, use a spray of onion, garlic, soap, chilli or comfrey; practice trench gardening to enrich the soil.” These are a few of the organic gardening tips Sindiswa Lugulwana offers on our visit to iLanga Gardening Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.
Both practical and conceptual information is shared as visitors from Toronto Public Health, Toronto’s Young Urban Farmers, and Mazingira Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, participate in a three-day exchange in Cape Town organized in partnership with the City of Cape Town. Following exchanges in Toronto in June 2010 and Nairobi in November 2010, the Cape Town gathering marked the final exchange of Rooftop Canada’s pilot program in urban food security.
Access to enough safe, socially and culturally appropriate food to maintain a healthy life is a key pillar of sustainable and resilient communities. Around the world, low-income households spend a high proportion of their income on food, and there is often little left over to satisfy other needs. Households adapt by prioritizing expenses and sometimes skimping on healthy food to pay for other essentials such as housing.
Participants in the Cape Town urban food security exchange visited projects highlighting the social and environmental benefits of urban agriculture.
There are bound to be differences in strategies and policies when you bring together people from three cities on two continents. But the participants were struck by the similarities in their goals and concerns. All are committed to increasing community access to healthy food and motivating youth to be urban farmers. All are attempting to create a policy environment that not just supports urban agricultural activities but ensures they are properly managed. And all are focused in their quest for a sustainable and just food system.
Rooftops Canada will continue to support urban food security exchanges and activities over the next five years.