Eighteen participants from the team at the Mamre Base, including the base manager, underwent the first food security training to take place in the Western Cape. The base is located in the small community, on the premises of the historic Mamre Moravian church. Some participants reside in Mamre while others are from Atlantis, 30 km from the base.
Meetings were held with the Regional Manager, Buyiselwa Ngaqwani, who indicated that the Mamre firefighters had a high level of interest in the food security project. Mamre was the best-prepared base for implement-ing the project as land was available in a secured fenced area occupied by the Mamre Organic Food project that is funded by the Department of Agriculture. Community members received training from 17 to 20 December 2019 and were provided with greenhouse tunnels and additional materials for organic gardening. The Mamre Team was able to network with other organisations that have started vegetable gardens with schools and community organisations.
The team had experienced the trauma of losing a colleague in October 2019, and named the garden Winston’s Organic Garden in honour of their deceased friend. The training and gardening have proved to be a therapeutic and enriching experience for the team.
Mamre’s first harvest of organic spinach was given to the Moravian community feeding scheme in February 2020 and the team shared the first harvest of organic tomatoes in April 2020. Despite the lockdown, the garden is currently flourishing.