Mandela Day: addressing food security in more than one way

Mandela Day: addressing food security in more than one way

On Saturday, 18 July 2020, South Africa and everyone inspired by the legacy of Nelson Mandela will be taking the opportunity to give back to society, on the day that honours the father of our nation. On Mandela’s day, South Africans use 67 minutes of their time to make society a better place.

This year the theme for Mandela day addresses a very pertinent issue which has also been exacerbated by COVID-19; the issue of food security and nutrition for all of society. Like never before our society has shown an evidential divide with access to basic resources, including food. Mandela day, therefore, highlights the importance of widespread collective action to alleviate this divide in our society and get food to everyone in our country.

While adhering to social distancing BiobiN South Africa encourages South Africans to do their part on Mandela day while staying at home. “Sticking with this year’s Mandela day theme, we want to encourage all South Africans to look out for their local food drive and donate the basic food items that you can,” says Brian Küsel from BiobiN South Africa. “We would love to encourage everyone to go clean their nearest beach or pick up litter, however, right now we are dealing with a pandemic which has heightened the scarcity of food resources in many communities.”

While we tackle the short-term food issues exacerbated by the pandemic and lockdown, BiobiN highlights some important long-term strategies to deal with food security and nutrition:

Closing our food waste system

“It’s unfortunate that a large percentage of our food waste still goes to landfill. As an on-site food waste processing system, BiobiN aims to give food waste back to the natural environment in a way that has value, and is not a burden,” says Küsel. “Closing the food waste cycle by composting ensures that there is an adequate supply of high-grade compost for both subsistence agriculture such as community food gardens and with large scale commercial agriculture.”

Addressing the health of our soil

Soil fertility and nutrient content is vital for healthy crop yields. “The agricultural sector carefully needs to manage the health of soil, and adding organic compost is a great method to do so. Adopting the use of organic high-grade compost will not only maintain soil health but also reduce the need of synthetic fertilizers, which will also impact the surrounding environment when they runoff into the groundwater, rivers and other waterways.

A lot of attention has been placed on sustainable development of the United Nations development goals. A key component of sustainable development recognised that the environment and the health and wellbeing of people can not be treated separately. Therefore, if we address environmental issues such as waste, pollution, and soil quality, we can alleviate the social issues that are currently present in many communities today.

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