Protea Village residents completed their community food gardens by planting 300 trees in Suikerbossie Park. This project aims to cultivate an urban forest alongside the vegetable patches in the 2-hectare public park.

According to TygerBurger, the provincial departments of agriculture, forestry and fisheries generously donated the 300 trees, which include a variety of fruit-bearing and indigenous species. This initiative’s primary goal is to combat climate change by increasing greenery in the area.

The occasion occurred on the one-year anniversary of the project’s inception in 2022. Mandy Leibrand and her husband, Frans Byleveld, initiated the project out of a desire to promote food security in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. After discussing their plans with ward councillor Grant Twigg, the couple founded the non-profit company Apple Tree, which spearheaded the project.

The City of Cape Town recognised the importance of their efforts and agreed to a five-year lease with Apple Tree that would allow them to use the park for urban farming.

The agriculture department also contributed R170 000 to drill a borehole, ensuring a sustainable water supply for the expansive garden. The Western Cape Provincial Minister for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, attended the event, planting his own tree and congratulating the community on the project’s remarkable success.

The project has even piqued the interest of University of the Western Cape students, who recently visited the garden and are considering implementing a similar model on the Cape Flats.

Dr Meyer hailed the project as an example of active community citizenship, in which residents took charge of their green spaces and transformed them into thriving urban gardens. Jan Odendaal of Green for Life, who facilitated the collaboration between Apple Tree and the forestry department, expressed his deep gratitude for being a part of such a monumental project.

According to TygerBurger, the garden, which has undergone meticulous maintenance by 38 devoted volunteer gardeners, has proven to be incredibly fruitful, providing enough produce to support 70 families. The addition of exquisitely landscaped walkways and flower beds has enhanced the garden’s success by creating a pleasing environment for everyone.

Recognising the importance of further enhancing green space, the decision to establish an urban forest was a natural progression. Fhulufhedzani Demana, a representative from the forestry department, emphasised that each tree planted will play a vital role in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere while simultaneously releasing oxygen.

Demana reportedly explained that, with a focus on promoting greening and urban forestation, the forestry department has been actively involved in planting trees not only in parks but also in schools and community gardens.

‘The importance of trees can never be underestimated,” she said.


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Feature image: Unsplash via GreenForce Staffing
Originally written by Sarah du Toit for Cape {town} etc.