| 1. Why do we need LandCare?
Land degradation and water shortages are serious environmental issues facing South Africa today. This affects each and every person—through the economy, through the environment, through poverty in our communities and eventually our quality of life.
Most of South Africa receives an irregular rainfall and a relatively dry climate. Also, much of our cropland and grazing land has deteriorated as a result of the influences of soil erosion, overgrazing, salinity, bush encroachment, alien plants and the prevailing socio-economic issues.
Land degradation is costing millions of Rand each year in lost production alone. If we include treatment of degraded land and nutrient loss, research and other costs related to pollution and the silting of our waterways, the costs add up to several billion Rand a year. This is a cost that our whole community has to bear. If nothing is done, we will almost certainly face higher food costs, loss of income and loss of biological diversity.
But it’s not all that bad. People are realising the problems and exploring solutions. Now there is a LandCare programme with dedicated people who want to change things around.
2. How did LandCare start?
The LandCare programme actually originates in Australia. Back in the early 1980’s, small groups scattered around Australia started to realise that environmental problems in their own communities were becoming worse. These groups got together to talk about the damage they noticed and they started taking action to repair it and solve complex environmental problems.
The LandCare programme was adopted in South Africa in 1989 by the National Department of Agriculture and other stakeholders, as an innovative approach for promoting sustainable land resource management. The Directorate Agricultural Land Resource Management administers the LandCare programme under the establishment of a National LandCare Secretariat.
3. What is Junior LandCare?
The Junior LandCare programme is growing rapidly throughout South Africa. Junior LandCare can be an activity of any keen youth club. There are Junior LandCare clubs working on projects, and solving local problems/issues together. The Department of Agriculture tries to supports small projects with the help of the private sector, but this assistance rotates from province to province each year.
Junior LandCare empowers disadvantaged youth with regard to:
· Training in facilitation and leadership skills
· Awareness in LandCare and Sustainable Agriculture
· Stimulating and supporting the formation of youth clubs
· Supporting small projects that aim to promote LandCare
· Promoting food security at homes and at schools
4. How do we get involved?
The common LandCare trend is groups of people from different backgrounds, getting together to talk about common problems and coming up with the solutions. It is this grass roots approach that is driving the LandCare programme and has been a major reason for its success. It is democratic, flexible, positive, cost-effective and fun, and it gives LandCare groups access to technical information and advice.
LandCare is based on partnerships. Partnerships between LandCare groups in a catchment, between individuals, and Government at all levels, schools, farmers, industry and the corporate sector. Partnerships works well because it fosters community sprit and South Africans are realising the urgent need for LandCare.
Junior LandCare supports the Permaculture EduPlant competition. Junior LandCare would like to encourage all schools to participate in the Permaculture EduPlant competition. We hope to see you as one of the finalists! Good luck and keep it Permaculture.
Please contact JUNIOR LANDCARE for more information:
LandCare Secretariat, Private Bag X120, PRETORIA 0001
Junior LandCare links