Although community gardens are widely promoted, very little empirical evidence exists of
their contribution to food security. This study evaluated the contribution of community
gardens to alleviating food insecurity for 53 community gardeners in Maphephetheni,
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, it was
found that 89% of these households were anxious about food supplies, consumed insufficient
food and were severely food insecure. In addition, 72% consumed poor quality food.
Community gardens were unable to solve the problem of food insecurity, but their
contribution to consumption cannot be entirely ignored. Improved productivity and
appropriate agricultural and nutritional advice are necessary. Land availability needs to be
addressed through community and other redress systems to grant communities access to less
marginal and more accessible productive land close to water. Programmes to support nonfarm
income are needed and could provide incentives for increased production.