Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Food Gardens in South Africa

couple gardening

The Food Gardens Foundation

(C) Copyright: City Farmer 1995

Food Gardens' Director, Joy Niland, reports that her Foundation came into being in 1977 and from small beginnings in Soweto its work spread to countless numbers of people in urban and rural communities throughout southern Africa.

Although the Foundation has about 1500 members who live in the more affluent areas, the main focus of its work is with poor and hungry people in urban and rural communities. For people in such circumstances they teach only the simplest, grassroots, virtually no-cost methods of restoring life and fertility to poor soil and producing food.

People who follow the Foundation's gardening methods discover that they can find all the needed resources close at hand, and all they have to buy are a few packets of seeds. A low-cost Seed Service is provided by the organization.

"As well as helping people to help themselves and provide good food for their families," says Niland, "food gardening can be a means of earning much-needed money. Children see it as a way of earning pocket money!" School gardens are a very important part of the Society's work.

"We provide training courses for community leaders and community development workers, enabling them to promote and teach food gardening in their communities and set up projects that have our ongoing support and guidance.

garden beds

FGF Method

The FGF (Food Garden Foundation) Method is a special method of growing vegetables with very definite advantages. It is especially useful if there is a shortage of land, water or money.

Briefly, the method involves digging a trench, which is then half filled with "rubbish" (organic matter) and topped up with dug-out soil. Seeds or seedlings are planted immediately on top of this "compost heap".

The FGF Method succeeds and gives better results than the "Scratch and Plant" method.


The Foundation sells a wide variety of resources in a number of different languages including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, and S. Sotho. These resources include a video, slide presentation, handbook for growing food in times of drought, and comic book.

The Food Gardens Foundation
Henk van Aswegen
P.O. Box 41250, Craighall
2024 Johannesburg
Tel.: +27-11-8805956 / 7
Fax: +27-11-4427642

More About The Food Gardens Foundation

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Revised Narch 27, 2002

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture