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Energy Globe Award

With more than 178 participating countries and over 2000 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.

National ENERGY GLOBE Award South Africa 2017

Submitted by: Green Acre Living (NPO)
Project: Green Acre Living

Green Acre Living has identified 700 low income households and works to enable these homes to achieve sustainable food security. Methods taught through training sessions, weekly workshops and a mentoring process are based on agro-ecology principles.

Initial situation
Urban food security is an ongoing challenge against the backdrop of high unemployment rates of 25%, a faltering economy, ongoing drought, political uncertainty and the prospect of fuel price increases. Although people in low income communities do grow food in some instances, production is often based on expensive chemical additives, the requirement to buy seed each season and low to absent understanding of soil ecology. Similar crops, typically cabbage and chard, are repeatedly produced on available land resulting in poor production volumes and quality of produce. Any understanding of the benefits of growing a range of diversified crops is rare to encounter. Ideas such as retaining water in the soil and building soil life are all but absent as are skills relating to compost production and the benefits of e.g. earth worms in soil ecology. As a result, the potential for selling excess produce into informal markets is nominal. Reliance on hybridized seed had resulted in a loss of culinary biodiversity as well as the cultural traditions of seed swapping and the preparation of indigenous foods, leading to a steady erosion of cultural traditions.

Solution
Green Acre Living has identified 700 low income households to date in the greater Johannesburg urban area and works to enable these homes to achieve sustainable food security. Methods taught through training sessions, weekly workshops and a mentoring process, are based on agro-ecology principles. Optimum soil conditions for the retention of scarce water availability and the proliferation of soil organisms can be achieved while simultaneously actively locking carbon into the soil through composting techniques. By using these principles, food growers are no longer dependent on expensive commercial additives previously thought of as necessary additions to growing food. In doing so, a reduction of carbon emissions is also achieved as a result of food being grown close to homes.

Innovation
Innovation in the context of Green Acre Living's work should be considered against what is common knowledge in the Global North by comparison to the Global South. From this perspective they have introduced innovative solutions such as actively locking carbon into the soil, working with the local ecology and not against it and actively finding ways to retain moisture in the soil. This is old news to agro-ecologically orientated small scale Global North farmers but is very innovative in these communities. Another innovation is the beehive developed in partnership with the university that addresses the problem of vandalism of hives in especially lower income communities. The beehive is simultaneously more heat efficient as well as being a modular system that can empower small bee keeping business in urban and rural communities.

Jury-Rating
Urban food security is an ongoing challenge against the backdrop of high unemployment rates of 25%, a faltering economy, ongoing drought, political uncertainty and the prospect of fuel price increases. This year's National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in South Africa has identified 700 low income households and works to enable these homes to achieve sustainable food security. Methods taught through training sessions, weekly workshops and a mentoring process are based on agro-ecology principles. Congratulations on your initiative!



Capital: Pretoria
Official language: Afrikaans, English, Ndebelem, Northern sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Total area: 1.221.037 kmĀ²
Population: 50.586.757
GDP/Capita/Year: $8.342
Source: Wikipedia 2012