The wisdom to replace grass lawns with food crops, even though it were done only partially, can never be overstated. It is the wisdom of our ancestors that one should eat food that one knows its source from seed to plate, after having participated in growing it. And this is possible for every Ugandan to do. Uganda is gifted by nature and most of us, Ugandans, do have access to fertile land.
It has been nearly two months since Uganda is in partial lock down, necessitated by the need to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. And within just days, thousands of urbanites were rendered food insecure; apparently, including even some who live in gated homes. Homes, moreover, with concrete drive ways and lush grass lawns.
Mercifully, there have been no COVID-19 related deaths in Uganda as yet. Uganda’s population is over 40 million and no Ugandan has yet been confirmed dead because of COVID-19 within our borders; and nor have other nationals under care in Uganda health facilities died.
As of 27th April 2020, those within the borders of Uganda who are confirmed infected remained at 79; and of which 47 have since recovered and have been discharged from hospital. This is nearly a 60 percent recovery rate, so far, and it seems it will get even better.
Fellow, Ugandans, be that as it may, when we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we must forge a new normal. That in which the head of state and the entire cabinet demonstrate in word and action their concern for the lives of all Ugandans, as they have overtly done in the fight against COVID-19.
On this Labour Day, let us buy in to the wisdom that there is really no need for Ugandans to die of preventable diseases, that are borne out of malnutrition, due to insufficient intake of nutritious food.
It does not make sense, for example, for significant amounts of public spending to be allocated to mowing grass and to maintain grass lawns, when thousands are malnourished.
The norm, currently, is that even at health care facilities at which malnourished children are admitted and are being treated on imported Plumpy’nut, a significant amount of resources are ploughed into maintaining grass lawns.
Meticulously trimmed grass lawns is a legacy of colonialism that we must get rid of. Let us re-direct resources to maintain aesthetically pleasant food lawns at all public facilities, as a start.
There are precedents. Perhaps the more famous being the White House gardens of First Lady of the United States Mitchell Obama.
Photo credit: Harvest of the first cherry tomatoes from one of my plants growing in my front yard garden.