Fortress REIT Partners With Food & Trees for Africa to Roll Out Food Security Programme
Johannesburg; 02 May 2019 - Fortress REIT Limited (Fortress), the JSE-listed property group, has partnered with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), a leading Section 21 Non-Profit/Public Benefit Organisation to roll out a food security, environmental sustainability and greening programme at 19 schools and 500 homes in the vicinity of its Evaton Mall property in southern Gauteng.
Fortress and FTFA will be rolling out an “Eco-cluster” and community mobilisation programme across selected schools and communities within a 6km radius of the 36,000m² Evaton Mall, which serves as a regional shopping destination for the people of Sebokeng. Fortress has completed several redevelopments and renovations to the property in order to optimise its space and bring it in line with modern specifications. These efforts have attracted blue-chip anchor tenants such as Pick n Pay, Shoprite, Game and others.
“We are very pleased to be working across multiple programmes with FTFA, which has grown into one of the biggest and most impactful organisations of its kind in Southern Africa,” said Mrs Jodie Ellinor-Dreyer, from Fortress.
This particular “Eco-Cluster” includes a number of FTFA programmes such as Food Gardens, Trees for All, Trees for Homes and FTFA’s EduPlant School Gardening and Nutrition programme. These programmes utilise environmentally sustainable food security and planting techniques such as permaculture and high-density orchard culture to improve nutrition in under-resourced communities while at the same time fostering environmental awareness and systems thinking. The programmes supply learners and surrounding communities with resources such as seeds, herbs and trees as well as gardening tools, educational materials and mentorship in order to help them become self-sufficient and food secure.
The first phase of the programme will run over a period of two years and will see 375 trees planted at 19 schools, as well as the mass distribution of 1,000 trees to 500 homes. Fortress and FTFA kicked off the programme on 15 April 2019 at the Mogogodi Primary School where staff volunteers and learners worked together to plant vegetables in the school’s food garden and trees as part of the “Trees for All” initiative. The learners and school leaders, from the 19 schools, were also shown water saving methods that can be used when planting vegetables and trees. This will be followed by the “Trees for Homes” segment of the project, which sees trees distributed to individual homes over the month of May. Several “tree survival” follow up initiatives will take place during the ensuing months to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme.
“It is an honour for us to roll out such a positive food security and environmental programme in greater Evaton and Sebokeng. We believe in building strong communities, and where better to start than in the schools and homes of our learners. If one is able to positively influence a child’s home and school life you can put them in a much better position to reach their full potential,” said Mrs Ellinor-Dreyer.