Urban Grown Food, Africa Response to Pandemic

Geoffrey Makhubo, Mayor of Johannesburg, and Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities argue that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the threat that climate change and environmental degradation pose to public health and our collective ability to feed ourselves.

Mayor Geoffrey Makhubo

Makhubo and Watts express their concerns in a joint article. They say that “Food security is a common challenge throughout the world, particularly among vulnerable groups and the poor. Yet the great cities of Africa face a serious threat of hunger and malnutrition.”

“Our ambition should not be a return to ‘normal’ but to build a more sustainable, resilient, and fairer society out of the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. That means guaranteeing that all citizens have access to adequate and nutritious food.” they argue.

The article mentions Lagos’s experience, where closed schools have been repurposed to serve as makeshift food markets to allow residents to access food without traveling long distances. Accra ramped up its home gardening program by distributing seedlings and is slowly creating an urban farming movement.

“To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of that small patch of earth offered a taste of freedom.” – Nelson Mandela

“We also need to make sure that low-emission foods, locally sourced and predominantly plant-based, are the easiest and the cheapest option. This work was important before COVID-19 struck, now it is essential. The time to act is now!,” Makhubo and Watts concluded.

The full article was originally published on Thomson Reuters Foundation News

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