Organic Footprints believes whole heartedly in “Sowing it Forward” to benefit the Community from Our Existence as an organisation.
We divide our Community Outreach into three categories:
- Food Security - Community Supported Agriculture/Sustainable Development Projects
- Charity – Outlets we simply donate to on a monthly basis
- Getting Our Clients involved – in different ways and on different levels.
We invest in the poorer communities in helping them to establish gardens to grow food. This starts with an initiative to feed each respective household, which grows into the surplus supply going to a community food kitchen or even better market place, and thirdly to reach a level of quality where best of the crop can be sold to Organic Footprints for resale to our clients.
This is a long term and ongoing investment of time, skills development, seed and garden equipment supply.
Since 2013, Missionvale Care Centre has become our leading avenue in our Food Security establishment, and is a highly successful and ongoing project.
(For More on Food Security and our thoughts on this...scroll down.)
To these selected organisations we simply “give” or “donate” collected goods, food, clothes, wherever there may be a need we can assist with.
Since 2012, The Island Forest School has been one of these such organisations that we have taken under our wing. The Island Forest School is founded in a very poor area of Port Elizabeth, and many of the children at school are orphaned, homeless, or starving. The team leaders at the school go to many lengths to identify talented young children, or those in desperate need of assistance. Organic Footprints Supports these initiatives in whatever way they can. We donate a Weekly Food Basket to the School with the aid of donations from our clients.
Above this, Organic Footprints established a vegetable garden for the kids, in order to contribute fresh vegetables to a daily soup, which is for many children then only meal they receive each day.
We also involve ourselves with the annual Christmas Party held for the kids, where they each receive a gift and party treats and a reason to celebrate. This is an ongoing project.
In January 2014 we added Save-A-Pet Port Elizabeth to our Charity list, whereby once a month we deliver a parcel of Pets Mince aided by donations from our clients.
Getting Our Clients Involved:
We have created several platforms where our suppliers and clients assist us in the above two fields, and welcome new ideas as we grow. Our company in the public eye is already based on a transparent philosophy – so we involve our current client base in our project development as an on-going concern.
For us, food security is critical to this planet and our people - We at Organic Footprints are constantly making others aware of the need to become conscious of where and how food is grown / farmed and where it comes from. Currently, our business philosophy is built around local produce being farmed sustainably using ethical methods.
The downfall of this however, as we have found over the last two years in business, is that not enough farmers in our area grow ethical or sustainable food as we require it. While the demand for this food from our clients exists, there is little overall encouragement from the larger marketplace, and so commercial farms will continue to win. We NEED to somehow empower our small local growers to grow more, and effectively to find and establish more growers who can and are willing to grow our food for us.
On this thought line we have identified many local Community Projects, who have started a concept that could well tie into what we require if somehow they could just be lifted to the next step.
It is common practice for Non Profit Organisations, or Welfare Organisations, Prisons, Old Age Homes and the likes, for a number of benefits, to start growing their own produce. This usually starts off as an initiative to simply supplement the soup pot, but grows into something of value when people find that working in the garden offers many “spiritual and well-being” attributes while achieving a function.
Topped with how much “feel good” activity flows from the garden, comes the desire to not only grow enough for the organisation, but to further expand and create a business opportunity for the growers/community project, in that they can now sell their excess produce and create income over and above supplement feeding.
This principle is not a new one. In fact there are many organisations which do this. However through our understanding, about 95% of these projects fail due to the lack of bridging between a sustainable outlet and the growing of the food.
Essentially nearly all of these gardens are grown in the sustainable ethical way Organic Footprints requires. Ideally, this is the food we would like to sell to our clients. This is the food that is in demand. It is chemical free, grown with love, and furthermore, the purchase of which goes to support a cause that really just needs that hand of hope. Supporting these growers is essentially, the fishing rod in every sense of the word.
So with some guidance this food is almost there. The downfall comes in the lack of a platform which these Community Gardeners can advertise, submit availability, and deliver their excess stock, without monetary requirements that fail them before they have even learnt to stand. This lack of bridging has for many years held these growers back will continue to do so unless something changes.
In conclusion, we sincerely believe that through our efforts we will not feed a man a fish but rather educate a community to fish.
We will be creating a sustainable lifestyle that will change lives forever and leave a natural footprint for the next generation.
Our company in the public eye is already based on a transparent philosophy – so we involve our current client base in our project development as an on-going concern.
Having lived in Africa for all of our years, and living through a generation we see the changes but also the repetition. But as food is life it has become a metaphor for life in itself for us. It is not only daily physical sustenance, it is a nurturing of the mind and the soul, a sharing, a communion of like-minded people. It is our link to the earth as we have always known and respected.
Nature, its offerings, and the people who have become the custodians of the natural process have formed a circle that will become stronger as the masses fade away in their unconsciousness. Whether it is the active farmer, a conscientious producer, or the thoughtful buyer they are interdependent in the path of life towards sincere appreciation and joy.