Every day lawnmowers cut tons of lush grass, in genteel suburbs, to save the lives of hundreds of cattle dying of hunger on Africa’s drought -baked fields.
The organisers call it Project Hope Grass. It gathers clippings from gardens across South Africa to crush into pellets to keep livestock alive as the country battles its worst drought in decades.
One of the masterminds of the initiative, Christo van der Rheede, AgriSA Deputy Executive Director, claims that hundreds of people are saving the lives of cows.
“If we run out of breathing stock, the country would face high food prices, so it’s the responsibility of everyone to contribute towards food security… Farmers help us by producing meat, now it’s our turn to help them in their time of need,” he says.
Spokie Heymans, one of the suburban cow savers, is a lawn specialist. In mid-January at the AgriSA offices in Centurion, near Pretoria, he arrived with a van load.
“I donate between 50 and 80 [50kg] bags of fresh cut grass every week,” says Heymans.
The idea is the brainchild of doctor Annelize Geldenhuys who feels the drought is a national disaster.
“Maybe you only see a pile of grass but for many farmers in drought stricken areas, this represents a pile of hope,” says Geldenhuys.
About 3 000 bags of grass have been donated through the project and have been distributed to the farmers in need.
People can donate lawn clippings at several drop off sites around the country or contact Geldenhuys at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit its Facebook page: Project Hope Grass