Food security remains one of the biggest threats to the African continent. The threat not only being that of access to food but access to food that is nutritious, safe, and affordable. The One Residence One Garden Engagement Project hopes to achieve food security across the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Community and the Society at-large.

The One Residence One Garden Project is a staff-led initiative which sets up food gardens across student residences at DUT. The group is led by Ms Blessing Kanyumba, a Residence Advisor, GCI advisor, and Lecturer at DUT, and Mr Thabiso Msomi, a Lecturer in the Department of Management Accounting.

Speaking on the inception of the project, Ms Kanyumba highlights how her work led her to observe how many students struggle to stretch their small allowances across the wide range of responsibilities that they have, having to sacrifice essential items, such as nutritious food. “The cost of living is high. Growing vegetables assist in alleviating hunger in student residences and communities,” she said.

Although the project initially sought to address food security in DUT residences, it has now spread to communities across KwaZulu-Natal, by starting food gardens in high schools. The team not only sets up the food gardens but also provides the recipients with the tools and skills needed to maintain their gardens. 

The One Residence One Garden Project was one of the Finalists in the 2021 Community Engagement Showcasing and Pitching Awards, where they won a cash prize of R25 000 to use towards their project. The team used this prize money to purchase gardening tools and equipment to use in their engagement work.

Most recently, the team also were the joint winner of the Vice Chancellor’s Award under the Creative Category, at the ENVISION2030 Institutional Excellence Awards.

Speaking on the future of the project, Kanyumba shares, “The future goals of the project are to expand to more communities, and to partner with community leaders to ensure that land is fully utilised, and every school or household should have a garden”

Picture: The One Residence, One Garden team and learners at Durban Girls Secondary School

Tracy Khuzwayo

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