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Neighborhood Community Gardens

 

The Neighbourhood Community Gardens mission is to create an organic garden with the aid of the local community and for the local community thereby providing a sustainable supply of fresh herbs and vegetables. The Neighbourhood Community Gardens vision is to unite and educate the local community about ecologically sustainable urban agriculture. 

This "first of a kind" project will serve as a replicable and scalable model that can be adopted by all communities under the same banner.  It is intedended that after initial successes this Tokai chapter can be formally registered as a legal cooperative under the "New Cooperative Act of 2005" which was promulgated in July 2007.  As the primary cooperative, the next successful chapter can join as a secondary cooperative and with the continuing development of further Neighborhood Community Gardens, the membership can grow into a considerable Cooperative that has numerous potential benefits. As an example, the Carbon footprint, a measurable amount of emmissions is reduced through the production of local foods that are within walking distance of the beneficiaries. The "savings" by doing this "business unusual" takes into account many reductions such as food transport miles, refrigeration costs, savings through landfill reductions through the recycling of organic wastes into composts etc. With the growth of the cooperatives this savings of emmisions become quite considerable and have the potential to be converted into carbon units which can be converted into currency through Direct Foreign Investments, thus providing an income to cooperative members.

Outline for “Neighbourhood Community Gardens”

By Joseph Feigelson                 February 2011

Introduction

If you are reading this then you may be one of the few with an opportunity to actually be able and capable to do something about the quality and availability of the food we eat.

Did you know that during the 1929 depression 90% of families were considered self-sufficient as they lived in communities in rural areas; today 90% of families are city dwellers and are very far from being considered self sufficient.

I know that all of us sense that changes are imminent and seemingly inevitable; the only constant we know is change yet it is that that we fear the most.

Ever thought about what the changes would be if suddenly the electrical supply was interrupted and after two weeks Eskom still did not know the problem or when electricity would be available again? Do you have two weeks worth of food on hand?

What if you could enjoy fresh food on demand and pick it yourself as needed and within walking distance from your home? If this idea appeals to you then please read on!

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” – Lao Tzu The fist step is always the most difficult but if there is no first step there is no journey so it is in this spirit that I am asking you readers to take this first step and make the commitment towards this journey.

The Jist

The way this can work is that the project requires a minimum of R1700/month which pays a professional company (namely Living Green www.livinggreen.co.za and Sam Adams an organic farmer in his own right has consented and is motivated to make this happen) to install and maintain and drive this garden for R1500/month. This can be achieved through several combinations such as 17 people committing to R100 per month or 10 people committing to R170 month and the literal dangling carrot is that you would be spending this money at the supermarket anyway and now you can get fresher, organic food and more of it than you can get at your supermarket outlets for the same money you would be spending anyway. Water will be available from adjoining neighbour and difference in water bill will be compensated from the R200 that goes onto the “kitty.”

Okay so what has been accomplished to date?

  • After much efforts and consultations with provincial and city government “officials”; (I prefer the word “civil servants”) accessible property has been identified that is under the management of the City’s various departments and through the supreme efforts of our Ward 71 Councillor Dennis Joseph, we have been given the green light and the blessings of the ptb (powers that be) to get going and for this to serve as a replicable and scalable model for other neighbourhoods to emulate; this project is in total alignment with the City’s Urban Agricultural Policy and once we are up and running the benefits from City government can kick in.

The initial property that has been decided upon is the unused portion within the cul-de-sac of Windsor Place on the left side looking towards Dreyersdal Farm and the area in question is approximately 100 sq metres with adjoining areas for expansion.

  • Two meetings have already been held after the neighbourhood was canvassed through notices and flyers. Resulting from the initial meeting, an organising committee was established consisting of Zelda, Megan, Janice and myself and it was then decided to jointly canvass for a second meeting at which we achieved an overwhelming consensus to move this project forward as well as the financial commitment by approximately thirteen families so we are almost there. There were also several communiqués from other residents expressing interest and apologies for having been unable to attend.

So before asking those of you that were present at the meetings to reaffirm your commitments I would like to outline several other benefits that can be derived from this initiative.

  • This is an opportunity for us to own our community and to take back ownership of our neighbourhood, to get to know our neighbours and not only the names of the dogs. (Dog walkers know what I am talking about). Our strength will be derived through the building of consensus within our communities so we can feel much safer and secure in many aspects of our lives and take back our streets.
  • All our household leftover organic materials can be transformed into rich compost to build our soils and can be offloaded into the compost heap.
  • A safe area to transform our community and environment into a lush friendly environment; a place to sit in the shade and reminisce for days when people used to rob banks.

What we need from you;

Your firm commitment to participate through an initial monthly R100 payment.  To start R100 per family seems ok and when the garden becomes productive, this can be reassessed according to family size and yield from the garden. The deadlines and timings are critical to make this happen so we need your commitment by no later than 7 March with first payment starting 15 March and an Inaugural Neighbourhood Community Garden day to be held on Monday 21 March a holiday known as Humanitarian Day. Please also take this document to all your neighbours and solicit their membership, and commitments. The more folks on board the less expense out of each of our pockets and any excess over the minimum can go into the kitty for other expenses that may crop up. Initially we should cap the membership to no more than 20 and after some initial success; we can expand the garden and add more members.

Also required is a fence that will initially serve to keep dogs and wind out and we would like to get this donated in return for the donor advertising his name on the fence. So if any of you know someone who does fencing or owns a hardware store or in general would like to donate please speak to them or if you feel that it would be better for one of us to approach them please act right away.

Lastly we need someone to step up to be or act as a treasurer, to do what treasurers do, to handle and dispense the financial resources and to keep it all open and transparent. In the interim, Janice has agreed to facilitate this aspect.

 

Please complete the attached Membership Form to affirm your commitment and return to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or to Zelda at 20 Keyser River Road, Tokai 7945

In closing then, let me state that nothing is written in stone. Flexibility is in order as we are now pioneering and we will stay open and flexible to any and all ideas and if you would like to participate in the organising, please don’t be shy, all are welcome.

A special thanks to all of you and to Alan for making the fabulous logo and to Zelda for graciously allowing us to meet at her house.

 

The things to do are:  the things that need doing:  that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done -- that no one else has told you to do or how to do it.  This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviours induced or imposed by others on the individual.

--- R. Buckminster Fuller