Zimbabwe survival tips- think, act circular

Written by Rumbidzai Mashavave

As the Zimbabwean economy continues to plunge, I thought it important to share coping mechanisms at household level and community level that promote circular thinking ad sustainability. The questions of access to basic needs are what we need to answer:

How can I afford cooking oil at 20 RTGS dollars, when my income is not increasing along with the price increase?

How do I cook for my family when there is no electricity, and LP gas has become a luxury given the price increase?

Think: Keep chopping wood for energy source?- that is essentially trading one problem for another. Immediate coping mechanisms include:

  • Using food as a currency-Batter Trade: A cup of cooking oil for a head of cabbage. In rural areas, goats were being traded for
  • Sharing economy: Use one car to go to work as neighbors – cost sharing of fuel.

It begins with you, be the tomorrow you want to see.

A transition to a circular economy, though in theory, targeted at businesses and at policy makers, to be the owners of the initiatives, really begins with the citizen, the household and community. It provides us with the opportunity to provide sustainable solutions for our own wellbeing as well as the environment.

Recycling

“To achieve a transition to a circular economy in practice, the actions include: recycling; efficient use of resources; utilization of renewable energy sources; remanufacturing, refurbishment and reuse of products and components; the extension of product life; treating products as services; sharing of products; prevention of waste, including designing out waste in products; and a shift in consumption patterns.

World Health Organization 2018

Food waste in urban farms or gardens to production and at consumption in all households is inevitable. Most of the food waste ends up in landfills. Food composting is a form of recycling.

“Compost is particularly useful for quickly rebuilding soil organic matter, which alongside other benefits, can allow soil to sequester more carbon and help flip agriculture from being a cause of climate change to being part of the solution”

Ellen McArthur Foundation

A circular food system demands that we grow food locally and regenerative. Locally at national level, as well as locally, at household and community level.

A head of cabbage now costs 4-5RTGS which at one point used to cost a mere 50c, while a bundle of leafy vegetables- covo, rape- has doubled and tripled in price as well at the local markets. And the prices are on the increase once again. Improving the fertility of soils is a step towards local production, feeding the household and the community.

Collaborate: Using local groups that exist within communities that have since been formed through government structures as well as NGOs, households can come together to support low cost production to feed their families.

Act: Separating food organic waste at household level and transferring it into the gardens will benefit the soil, the crops to be planted-nutrient wise, the food supply, and ultimately the food and nutrition security of the households and community.

Food availability cannot be fixed overnight. Improving soil fertility is just one step.

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