COVID-19 sowed seeds of disorder for farmers. This is the solution they cultivated

COVID-19 sowed seeds of disorder for farmers. This is the solution they cultivated

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, life still grows.

Harvesting hope in a hunger crisis
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While farmers have continued working during lockdown, the closure of schools, workplaces, and restaurants have left them with a surplus of produce. At the same time, countless people have lost their jobs and income, severely impacting their ability to provide food for their families. But Ashley Newell and Iming Lin have dug up a solution to this crisis.

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With a combined background in public health, agriculture, and social development, the two make a formidable pair for creating sustainable change. They established Food Flow as a direct response to South Africa’s lockdown. Through sponsorships, the initiative links small-scale farmers directly with those experiencing food insecurity. “Without the connection between farms and people, we have waste, hunger, and a missed opportunity for positive impact,” Newell says. 

Established in the Western Cape, Food Flow has since spread to different provinces, with farms and distribution partners joining forces from as far as Stellenbosch and Durban. The organisation receives donations, purchases produce directly from farmers who are not part of large supply chains, and then delivers the food to communities in need. 

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Tens of thousands of harvest bags bursting with nutritious, organic, and local fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste have since been transported to hungry homes. Over R1,000,000 in donations have poured in, enabling Food Flow to keep farmers in business, and ensure that families are fed. Newell and Lin’s approach to this crisis has been elegant, compassionate, and highly successful. Through their innovative approach, they are transforming our relationship with both food and each other.

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