Growing food in Windhoek: New handbook on policy and practice

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Staff Reporter
Windhoek

A new handbook looks at urban agriculture in Windhoek and shows that Windhoek can still grow food despite the much appreciated late rains last week but which have not alleviated the capital’s water woes.

The City of Windhoek’s Town Planning Scheme allows gardening in residential zones. This covers dwelling units, residential buildings, places of public worship, places of instruction and heritage buildings. The handbook gives information on regulations and on water usage for urban agriculture. It shows different gardens across the city and the many ways in which Windhoek’s residents grow food.

“People from different walks of life are involved. In and around Windhoek, we find them all – experienced smallholder farmers from the north, creative organic farmers, imaginative backyard gardeners, skilled permaculture activists, visionary entrepreneurs and many more. There is a lot of knowledge around. With this handbook we want to connect people and ideas,” says Ina Wilkie from the World Future Council who has compiled the handbook.

A special focus is on permaculture, a method that is especially convincing in the challenging Windhoek climate. Members of the Eloolo Permaculture Initiative, who are growing a garden at the Van Rhyn Primary School in Windhoek West, share their experiences and recommendations.

The handbook is available for free at the Community Development Department of the City of Windhoek (Corner of Hans Dietrich Genscher/Leonard Aula Streets), at the Greenwell Matongo Library and on Saturday mornings at the Green Market in Klein Windhoek (Iiyimati stall). It is also available on Facebook (‘Growing Food in Windhoek’).

Today, in many cities across the world, urban agriculture is a livelihood strategy. Studies have found that home gardens increase the consumption of foods rich in protein and micronutrients. When produce is sold, urban agriculture offers opportunities to generate extra income. Urban agriculture can be a part of an effective food and nutrition security system – but it can be a strong one.

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