The Oranjezicht City Farm is a neighbourhood non-profit project in Cape Town celebrating local food, culture and community through urban agriculture. The founding volunteers believe that it makes sense to grow the most perishable, vitamin-rich foods close to where its consumers live. Now, looking back,the farm has not only preserved open space but offers the community a respite from the quick tempo of urban life.
The farm recognises that more and more people are trying to understand how the food they buy and eat is connected to health and wellness. For some, it’s a reaction to the environmental impacts of industrialised commercial agriculture. For others, a chance to reconnect with nature and their neighbours, spend time as a family or just chill with friends.
OZCF has taken one more step on its journey, raising awareness about issues associated with food and the city: from urban greening and resource use, to food security and waste. Educational programmes have engaged local and regional schools in helping to develop tomorrow’s leaders. Indigenous culinary plants are being reintroduced for cultivation in local gardens and inclusion in family meals. They have created jobs and are encouraging a local food system.
The atomisation that characterises more affluent urban communities in Cape Town is slowly being changed in Oranjezicht to create a cohesive community. Neighbours are working together to beautify, sustain and improve their shared neighbourhood, across boundaries of age, race and class. There is a palpable sense of pride and belonging that is flourishing in Oranjezicht alongside the beetroots and buchu. It’s still early days and there is a long road ahead, but spade by spade, seed by seed, the community will be walking it together.