JSE-listed property group Fortress REIT launched its Vredenburg Food Security and Environmental Sustainability initiative at the Masiphathisane School in the Western Cape last month. The community upliftment programme will see it assist with the planting of 2,100 trees as well as the establishment of two long-term food gardens.
The initiative forms part of a broader food security, environmental sustainability and greening programme aimed at benefitting communities living in close proximity to some of the group’s flagship properties. Fortress has partnered with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) to roll out the programme, which has also seen it fund a year-long “Trees for Homes” programme in Sebokeng, a township in southern Gauteng.
“We’re exceedingly proud of the impact that this initiative is having in underserved communities where the ability to plant, grow and harvest your own food produce can be a sustainable way to promote food security and poverty alleviation,” said Jodie Ellinor-Dreyer of Fortress. “After experiencing first-hand the positive impact that this programme is having in communities living near some of our properties in Gauteng, we are now focusing on expanding it to the Western Cape.”
Fortress, with the support of FTFA, is working with three communities in the Vredenburg area of the Western Cape, namely Witteklip, Louwville and Ongegund, which will see 2,000 trees planted as part of its “Trees for All” and “Trees for Homes” programmes. An additional 100 trees, as well as food gardening support, will be provided to three local beneficiaries in the area, the Panorama Primary School in Louwville; the Masiphathisane Primary School in Witteklip; and the Louwville Community Garden; as part of the “Food Gardens for Africa” programme. These communities are all located in close proximity to Fortress’s Weskus Mall.
Fortress and FTFA also provided training for 20 community educators who were trained in how to support the surrounding communities with caring for their trees. Each of the community educators were awarded a certificate of achievement to mark their graduation from the programme.
The success of Fortress REIT’s food security, environmental sustainability and greening programmes has encouraged the groupto look at rolling out similar initiatives with FTFA in Linbro Park in Sandton, Cornubia in KwaZulu-Natal and Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape.