The partnership between Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) and the Fortress Fund is a shining example of how businesses can adapt their ESG and corporate responsibility to support vulnerable, low-income communities.
Over the last five years, the partnership has supported 51 greening and gardening projects and has established and supported four farms in Gauteng through FTFA’s Farmer Eco-Enterprise Development (Feed) Africa programme.
The Feed Africa programme focuses on commercial agriculture and the supply chain by promoting bio-intensive techniques, training and farmer support. While the programme’s four farms have been set up to generate income, its social impacts are much broader, extending beyond just the project owners to other community members.
The farmers engage in discussions centred around their challenges, solutions, and continued skills development, forming new partnerships and exchanging information that helps to build better, more sustainable futures.
Endless growth opportunities
“Our partnership with Fortress gave FTFA the means to build deeper networks in these communities. Many of the projects began as Trees for Homes distributions and grew into market gardens, and then farms, which increased employment and income generation opportunities in these areas,” says Robyn Hills, programme manager at Food & Trees for Africa.
The farms are run by close-knit groups of people with the goals of growing and providing employment, especially for women and people with disabilities while transferring agricultural skills to children and the youth.
The project members never hesitate to support one another through knowledge and resource sharing. They are committed to building a better future for themselves and their communities, and this commitment shines through in everything they do.
The impact of the partnership has been tremendous. The support received by these projects has enabled more efficient and sustainable use of space, resulting in increased production and multiple harvests throughout the year.
For instance, Kula Africa had only 9 000 square metres of the four hectares of available land under active production prior to FTFA’s involvement. Since January 2022, the addition of 3 000 square metres of intensive high-quality vegetable production has resulted in increased harvests and more efficient use of space.
In the years to come, FTFA and Fortress envision that these farms will continue to grow, providing opportunities for the next generation of farmers and that they will operate at a full, sustainable capacity to empower a wider community to learn to grow their own food.
“We believe that this partnership has the potential to create real change in the communities we serve. We are committed to continuing our work with FTFA and investing in the future of these farms so that they can continue to provide food security, employment opportunities, and skills training for generations to come,” says Jodie Ellinor-Dreyer, financial manager at Fortress Real Estate Investments.
Creating lasting change
The FTFA and Fortress partnership is a powerful example of how businesses can make a real impact in the communities they serve.
By investing in local projects that promote food security, environmental sustainability, and greening, businesses can create lasting change and help build a better future for all. As Hills says, “By working together, we can create a world where everyone has access to fresh, healthy food and the opportunity to thrive.”
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