by Megan Quinn
ETSU College of Public Health
Munsieville, South Africa
On Thursday July 14th, 74 individuals came together and made the decision to change their lives and end hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in Munsieville , South Africa by planting gardens. Many families in Munsieville struggle to have a well-balanced meal every day and building gardens will create a sustainable way to ensure that individuals do not have to go hungry. Further, vegetable gardens will help to fight malnutrition in the children of Munsieville. According to the World Health organization, malnutrition contributes to more than one third of all child deaths and can occur due to offering the wrong foods, inadequate breast feeding, and not ensuring that the child receives enough nutritious foods1. The people of Munsieville are going back to the soil to make sure their children and families are adequately fed and nourished.
The 74 individuals were divided into 15 groups to begin building the gardens. Group members will assist each other in building gardens at each of their houses and training other individuals in the community as well. The keyhole garden method will be used to build the gardens in small spaces and use recyclable materials and water. For more information about keyhole gardens, follow this link. http://www.sendacow.org.uk/keyhole-gardens Community members of Munsieville are very excited to begin this endeavor! Everyone should have enough vegetables to feed their families and maybe even sell the extras. Additionally, once they start growing vegetables, some of the women would like to open a soup kitchen for the orphaned and vulnerable children in the area.
A few of the leaders of the community garden groups met on Wednesday, July 20th to receive training about the keyhole gardens and develop plans to begin building. These key leaders will assist us to ensure that gardens are built for all of the individuals participating in the program. Additionally, we hope to utilize these leaders to train individuals to build gardens in other parts of Munsieville.
We broke ground on our first garden on Friday, July 22nd. Roughly 10 women helped the “Star Garden” group build their first garden. The women collected materials from around the community (bricks, straw, cans, and soil) and compost and seedlings were provided through donations from the United States. This small garden, containing spring onion, beet root, cabbage, parsley, and spinach, will feed approximately 5-10 people and will change the lives of the owner and her family. Further, plans were made on Friday for the next set of gardens to be built. The women continued collecting materials over the weekend and plan to build several more gardens this week. This small effort will make a huge difference in the lives of the community; providing healthy, nutrient rich foods to the people of Munsieville.
- World Health Organization. 2011. http://www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/topics/prevention_care/child/nutrition/malnutrition/en/ Accessed 7/22/2011.