Formerly a bowling green constructed in the 1950s and unused for decades, the site comprises part of the original farm, ‘Oranje Zigt’, established in 1709. OZCF seeks to re-connect the Oranjezicht neighbourhood and the rest of Cape Town to this neglected piece of heritage through design, education and vegetable gardening and to use it as a catalyst to build social cohesion, develop skills, educate residents and their children about food and environmental issues, and champion unused or under-utilised public green spaces in the city.
“Charity begins at home – but should not end there.”
A common question we get is why we are not doing this project in a more needy community. The answer is that there are a number of urban agriculture and community garden projects in neighbourhoods across Cape Town, including Abalimi Bezekhaya with more than 3000 women farmers in poor households across the City. OZCF represents an opportunity for residents of our more affluent neighbourhood to find ways to connect with the other projects, to build bridges to their communities, and to support them through partnerships.
In addition, social change needs to begin in one’s own community, and to go to others and tell them what to do and how without walking the talk oneself is far less effective (or morally defensible) an approach than showing commitment where one lives first.
A garden not only preserves open space and offers a respite from the quick tempo of urban life, but also holds the potential to reach past the vegetable plots and flower borders to the larger community. It can be a gathering place to bring people together, strengthening relationships. Ultimately, the garden is a catalyst for change, improving the quality of life and even reducing crime.