MIDI - Msunduzi Innovation and Development Institute
The Sunday Tribune Garden Show hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Natal is an annual event on the Msunduzi calendar. The show has become popular over the years as it attracts more than 24000 people during the 3 day period.
The show hosts many different organisations and corporate retailers displaying landscaping techniques, plants, feature gardens and agricultural displays. The garden show also attracts garden clubs and schools to display mini replica gardens. A fairly new feature of the 2013 garden show was the ‘Happy Earth Hall’ which focused on showcasing sustainable feature gardens and projects by various NGO’s and schools working in the environmental sector. MIDI participated in this years ‘Happy Earth Hall’ and exhibited a project relating to urban agriculture. The MIDI exhibit set out to showcase the ‘Happy Earth’ Project at PCH in partnership with Dovehouse Organics. The stand had two key focus areas namely; urban agriculture and children and youth and therefore exhibited these areas by the inclusion of Lilly of the Valley, Pietermaritzburg Children’s Home (PCH) and the Children in Distress Network (CINDI). The MIDI exhibit received the silver with Laurels award.
Participating at the ‘Happy Earth Hall’ was one of the three activities of the ‘Happy Earth 2013 and Beyond’ project, focusing on Food Sovereignty. The other two activities include the ‘Happy Earth’ Project at PCH and the Urban Agriculture Workshop, November 2013.
Over the past couple of decades, Urban Agriculture has increasingly gained recognition as a viable intervention strategy for the urban poor to earn an extra income. It also allows the poor to reduce their reliance on cash income for food by growing their own food in the city. South Africa is an increasingly urbanised country and agriculture continues to play a major role in addressing food sovereignty. This led to the introduction of food sovereignty in MIDI’s workplan. The Urban Agriculture Workshop hosted by MIDI on 13th November 2013 aimed to explore different models in urban agriculture as a new approach to food production and access that includes agricultural, processing, marketing, transportation, consumption and waste aspects of the food system in a drive to achieve sustainable social, economic and environmental development. MIDI managed to establish a forum of relevant stakeholders in the sector of food sovereignty. The initial focus of the forum will be to learn more about what is happening around PMB in terms of urban agriculture. This is will include a range of site visits to various working and potential working models led by members of the community. The first site visit was at Dovehouse Organics Farm (as part of the Workshop) which will be followed by a visit to Broadleaze Farm (11th December 2013). The site visits that will follow will be determined by the community attending on the day.