‘If we can have a fast food restaurant on every corner, why not a garden?’
Sheryl Ozinsky explains the benefits of urban agriculture and how it would improve the health of South Africans.
See also: Food, Flowers and Friendships
Ozinsky makes an impassioned plea for urban agriculture. She explains that the time is right for urban agriculture as a revolution of health and nutrition is unfolding. This revolution is a response to rising obesity levels and a proliferation of unhealthy food on the market today. An investment in urban agriculture is an investment in the planet – we do not have a planet B to turn to if we continue to cause irreparable damage to earth. We need to implement a new food system where we are both growing and buying locally.
Change will come from within, citizens must be the change that they wish to see. Government and municipalities do not hold all the answers and powers. Mayor de Lille was short-sighted when she publicly endorsed the opening of a Burger King branch in Cape Town. Ultimately cash-strapped public hospitals pay the price of a society afflicted by alarming obesity levels and other health complication of a diet lacking in nutrition. Our cities should instead look towards the example set by Copenhagen, where there are no major fast food franchises in the city centre. In Cape Town there appears to be a fast food outlet on every street corner -we must ask ourselves why instead there isn’t an agricultural garden on every corner?
Studies also indicate that nutrition-deprived children will fail to reach their income potential later in life. The food choices of their parents locks them in poverty. Urban agriculture aims to address this tragedy and ensure that healthier food is also affordable for low-income groups.