Joana Jessurun in the garden. / SUR

Community project to provide a sustainable food source

Several Age Concern volunteers have converted a client's garden into a community vegetable allotment

Tony Bryant

Several volunteers of Age Concern Estepona and Manilva have come up with an inventive idea to help local, senior citizens overcome the problem of rising food costs.

Masterminded by Joana Jessurun, who helps run the charity's second-hand shop, the project involved the installation of a community vegetable garden on the land of one of the clients cared for by Age Concern.

The plot belongs to an 84-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer called Annie, and she is one of the 30 clients that the charity currently provides fresh food for on a biweekly basis.

The community garden. / SUR

Joana, a Dutch national, decided to convert a large plot of overgrown land into a community project - along with the help of keen gardener Gunilla Hansson and several other volunteers - with a view to producing a sustainable food source, while also motivating and providing company for Annie.

"We started the food programme two years ago at the start of the pandemic and we decided to continue as Covid combined with Brexit, and now rising food and electricity costs, means that many families have a choice of heating or eating," Age Concern President Marie-Andreè Gleeson told SUR in English.

Joana and her team have already planted an array of root vegetables, and because a small river passes through the land, an irrigation system has also been installed.

"Joana has always been passionate about things like this, and she has very strong ties with the Dutch and Swedish communities in the area. She is the one who turned it into a community project by getting other people involved. It is so wonderful what she has managed to do," the president said.