Food gardening in Lavender Hill, Cape Town: using adoption rates to estimate the perceived benefit
This paper assesses the potential benefits derived from homestead-based urban agriculture as well as the constraints faced with implementation. A public benefit organisation, Soil for Life, provided access to the Lavender Hill Community. Fifty participants in the Mothers Unite programme were interviewed. The mean household in the dataset reported a per capita disposable income below the official poverty line and none of the households in the sample were able to buy the recommended five a day fruit and vegetables in the formal market. If these households could become self-sufficient in vegetables they would free up an average of 11% of household income for other expenditures. Despite the great potential of food gardening to relieve food insecurity, and despite respondents identifying with the opportunity to also produce small amounts of vegetables for sale, two thirds of the group have not tried it. The group’s lack of gardening experience was patently clear from the factors identified as barriers to adoption. Respondents cited a lack of space and limited cash flow, but people were not really concerned about the cost of water or compost, both crucial factors for success. While it is interesting to know that there is still untapped potential for expanding the program in the area, it is more important to focus future work on why beneficiaries have dropped out of existing programmes.