In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pedi, through the Philippi Urban Agriculture Academy (PUAA), has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the well-being of their communities and small-scale urban farmers. Recognizing the urgent need to ensure access to nutritious food, they embarked on a mission to source and distribute vegetables from these farmers.
The crisis that unfolded in the wake of the pandemic underscored the critical importance of keeping people well-nourished, especially the most vulnerable among us. Pedi's commitment to food security became paramount in safeguarding public health.
A significant decision was made at the end of March 2020 to temporarily halt wholesale supply operations. This strategic move allowed Pedi to redirect their resources and energy towards supporting emerging and organic farmers who shared their mission of sustaining alternative food systems for the greater good. Their goal extended beyond feeding the hungry to nourishing the sick and preserving the livelihoods of local farmers.
Pedi's focus shifted towards distributing food to Cape Flats communities in partnership with organizations like UCook and FoodFlow. UCook, in particular, committed substantial funding to support both farmers and food relief efforts. They envisioned the creation of comprehensive "basic needs" care packages, which would include perishable and non-perishable foods, sanitation products, and personal hygiene items.
UCook produced a 2-minute video showcasing the impact of the collective work:
Collaborating with FoodFlow, Pedi effectively mobilized donations through WebTickets, offering individuals the opportunity to purchase a "FoodFlow Parcel." These parcels enabled the assembly of vegetable boxes for distribution to those in need. The Department of Social Development played a crucial role in delivering these parcels to their network of families and community projects in need. Steady donations continued to flow in, expanding the reach of this initiative to more partners and donation sites, thanks to the dedicated logistics operations of PUAA.
The culmination of these collective efforts was evident during the stringent Level 5 lockdown from April to June 2020. Thanks to the unwavering support of generous donors, dedicated volunteers, and the collaboration of various community stakeholders, Pedi successfully distributed 1,518 food parcels to 1,362 households across 60 communities within Subcouncil 13. It is estimated that over 6,000 residents received vital food relief during this challenging period.