What did the writers achieve?

Our output was published in Grocott’s so we took it that our target audience was the middle class of Grahamstown. We therefore tried to write our articles so they had strong narratives that highlighted a local issue so they would feel something for them and therefore be drawn into acting. By initially highlighting a local problem we ensured the readers were drawn into our page, then we could put forward the idea of food gardens as a solution for both the problems of the poor and also the desire of the middle class to save money, impact less on the environment, and maybe even help the poor in Joza. We had very strong narratives of the positive actions of people in Grahamstown who were working in the face of adversity, but were overcoming it. Due to our hands-on experience whilst extending a food garden we were able to include colour in the articles and one hopes that this allowed the readers to visualise what we did and therefore become inspired to do the same. After we had the reader hooked we then gave simple guides showing how it is relatively easy to create a food garden, these articles were drier and more factual than the narrative ones but were essential in conveying our intended message of regarding the need to embrace food gardens as a necessity. We do feel that our stories did highlight a social problem, give a plausible solution to it, and also inspire the middle class to change their ways so as to help the community and the environment.

The quality of the articles that we created for Grocott’s was to a high standard. Our research and hands-on experience meant that we covered every angle that we could given the time and space constraints. The way in which we set out the three pages over three weeks meant that we were able to bring the readers in at the beginning and then lead them along until they ended up with a comprehensive knowledge of food gardens and what they can do, and how relatively easy it is to create them. With the design of the pages we were able to create a holistic product that would have been appealing to readers and thus have caught their attention and got them to think about what we wrote. Hopefully our convincing was effective enough that the readers of Grocott’s will actually think about creating food gardens, so our work will actually have some small impact on the environment and maybe even the malnourished children in Joza. The other media outputs complemented our work by focusing more on the schools that are desperately in need of the food gardens that we advocated. Between us we were therefore able to incorporate the whole of Grahamstown into our target audience.


About Ukulima Grahamstown

Ukulima means 'to cultivate' in isiXhosa and we felt it was a very appropriate name for our project since we are exploring how food gardens are a local and sustainable solution to the global crisis that is food security.

We are a group of third year journalism students that were given the topic 'food gardens' as part of our Critical Media Production course. We are a multimedia group consisting of writers, designers, TV, radio and photojourn students and have been working together, as well as with various civic organisations and community projects on a number of media outputs.

Even though this project will only last six weeks, we hope to 'cultivate' some change in our community and make our media outputs sustainable in that we wish to leave behind knowledge that will benefit people and hopefully lead them in the right direction in creating a food garden that will make them self-sufficient.

We are creating a DVD of all of our visual outputs, which will come with a 'how to' brochure and packet of seeds. We plan to distribute these to various schools, clinics and community centres in the Grahamstown/iRhini area in the hopes that we can encourage people to build food gardens of their own.

We are exhibiting all of our work at Barratt Lecture Hall, Rhodes University on October 22 2008, and hope that members of the community take a look at our efforts in promoting the idea of food gardens.