During a time when our country certainly needed some cheering up, South African Musician Jeremy Loops established The Big Food Drive. An awesome fresh produce distribution network and food garden initiative that provided over 100,000 meals to Cape Town communities who were severely affected by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Not just a pretty voice then, right?!
Currently, the network supplies six tons of locally sourced products to six different communities every week. For those of us who aren’t good with numbers, that’s an average of 54 890 meals per week. Incredible! The long-term goal? To build self-sustaining communities.
It’s no secret how important sustainability is to us here at The Pole Yard, too. After all, timber is regarded as one of the most valuable natural resources available to man, with more than 30% of the world’s population relying on what forests can provide – from food and building materials to firewood, pulp and paper.
So, when The Big Food Drive announced the next phase of their mission – building fresh fruit and vegetable gardens for communities in need – we knew we wanted to be a part of it!
First Community Garden
On 24 April 2020 fundraising started to build a fruit and vegetable garden at Bhongolethu School that would feed over 200 children daily. By November, Jeremy and his team broke ground and started building what would soon become a beautifully sustainable addition to the primary school. The Pole Yard was fortunate enough to be able to supply the timber for the garden which was designed by the talented team at Urban Harvest.
So, what did that include? Our good ol’ treated poles for starters. Besides offering that all-important horizontal and vertical structural support, our weather-resistant poles are treated with Tanalith and so won’t leach, or affect the school’s surrounding vegetation.
Our latte poles were then used to build the roof of the perfectly centred structure within the community garden. Not only are these poles visually appealing, but they’re also super practical for fruit and veggie gardens thanks to the shelter they provide from direct sunlight.
Not that we’re saving the best for last but what’s a garden without our nifty planter boxes? We loved being able to supply The Big Food Drive with wooden structures to plant different fruits and vegetables that would, in turn, feed the community. Made with sustainably sourced, Tanalised™ E Treated Wood, our eco-friendly planter boxes will also protect the school’s greens from insects and decay.
Planting took place towards the end of November in 2020 and just three months later, a harvest party was held to celebrate the colourful fruits and veg that grew so beautifully. Chef Nombulelo has been preparing meals for the children from the garden since January this year and was particularly excited about the giant brinjals!
We feel truly privileged to have been involved in such an incredible initiative and are looking forward to getting stuck into another one soon! It was also an honour to be able to work alongside one of South Africa’s finest musicians, Jeremy Loops without whom, none of this would be possible. It’s true what they say, collaboration does make us better.
For anyone looking to donate to The Big Food Drive, lend a helping hand, or find out more about it – we encourage you to visit their website to discover the awesome work being done.