Benefits of Cycling. More specifically, Urban Commuting

posted in: General 4

I cannot think of a better way to start the day and ride my bike to work. It gives me something to look forward to, and when I get to work I feel invigorated and ready to start my day.

If more people commuted on bicycles there would be:

Less fuel consumption, saving you money as an individual and saving the earth

Less noise pollution

Less traffic congestion, saving everyone time and reducing stress

Less damage to roads as bicycles are lighter, leading to fewer repairs and maintenance to roads

Less damage to the environment as there is no carbon footprint

Less roadkill and save animals

Fewer health issues, as the benefits of cycling, include:
– Building a Strong Immune System
– Increasing Cardiovascular Fitness
– Improving Flexibility and Joint Mobility
– Boosting Mental Health
– Promoting Weight Loss

Cycling is easy to fit into your daily routine by riding to the shops, friends, school or work and it does not feel like you are doing exercise, you are just having fun by riding your bike.

Cape Town has already successfully implemented cycling lanes into its town planning and is already seeing the benefits as more people are commuting to work and feel safe in doing so.

Low-income workers have also saved on transport costs through cycling to work instead of taking a taxi. Cycling is also more social distanced than travelling in a crowded taxi, making it a safer option in Covid times.

I wish more towns in South Africa would build cycle lanes as it would enable a lot more people to commute via their loved bicycles.

Better Health
Open Streets

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About Pauline Rainbird

I have been working at L2B since March 2011 and my current position is Deputy Head of Department - Africa. When I am not working I am either riding my bicycle or spending time with my dogs.

7 benefits of Urban Farming

posted in: General 0

First off, what is Urban Farming?

Urban farming is growing or producing food in a city or heavily populated town or municipality.

Urban farming is often confused with community gardening, homesteading, or subsistence farming. Urban farming, however, focuses more on growing produce to be sold as opposed to being grown for personal consumption or sharing. Urban farming can support the well-being of individuals and communities in many ways. From providing fresh produce to communities, creating a sense of community belonging, job-creation, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Did you know that over 20% of the food in the world is produced by urban farms?

There are various different types of urban farming like hydroponic farming, mushroom farming, beekeeping, urban chicken farms, growing flowers, cannabis farming, and organic farming to name a few.


So what are some of the benefits of urban farming?

1. You will learn the ability to farm

Urban farming helps you get educated about growing food. It is a unique skill to have in today’s world.  You will also be able to educate your children about sustainable food and the health benefits.

2. Growing food in limited space

You do not need a lot of space to grow your own produce. There are techniques like vertical gardening, container gardening, rooftop gardening, and hydroponic gardening that utilize space well.
Urban farming helps you make the best use of space while growing all the produce that you want.
3. Help boost the local economy

As more grocers, restaurants, schools, and institutions seek out sources of local food, there is an opportunity for small businesses and food entrepreneurs to explore urban farming as a new market in which to start or expand their business. This in turn creates more employment opportunities for local residents. As the local economic activity rises, money circulates within the city and strengthens communities.

4. Create edible landscapes

Urban farming is a perfect solution for vacant and underutilized lots of land that are scattered throughout cities, and many projects make efficient use of rooftop space. Community gardens and raised beds instantly transform spaces into more vibrant and edible landscapes and give individuals an opportunity to take stewardship of common land and become more involved in their communities.

5. Promote healthy communities

Urban farming increases access to affordable, healthy, fresh produce and provides a unique opportunity for communities to learn about nutrition and how to grow food.

6. Reduce environmental impact

Localized food production can be one effective way to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. Food grown locally travels significantly less distance from the farm to your fork, thus eliminating unnecessary food travel time. Urban farmers also often adopt more environmentally-friendly growing practices, using fewer pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

7. Increase food security

Urban farming can help alleviate some of the pressures of food insecurity by making a source of nutritious food available for nearby urban residents. All these reasons and more should compel us to scale up food production in towns in cities.

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” — Thomas Jefferson

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About Melanie Miles

One girl who would rather wear boots than high heels...

Benefits of Budgeting

posted in: General 0

Budgeting – a word that sounds as if you’ve just stripped the fun out of life. You get your salary at the end of the month and before you have even had a chance to look at your balance you are already hearing that familiar tone on your phone letting you know that your balance is reducing, as one by one, those pesky bills are coming off. If you have not done your planning correctly, you may even feel a little stress and anxiety, hoping and praying that you have in fact got enough left over to get through the rest of the 28 days or so of the month remaining. Perhaps you are more organized than others and, even without a budget, you are confident that your income, by far, exceeds your expenses. Then you get a spontaneous urge to go on a much-needed weekend away or indulge in something a little extravagant but are unsure as to how much you actually have available as you have lost track of what is available to spend and what is still to be paid. What if I told you that this does not need to be your reality? And what if I told you that a budget needn’t be a complex schedule of reds and blacks, casts and cross casts, ticks and crosses? Below will highlight the benefits that can be enjoyed from budgeting:

  1. It helps keep focused

A budget will help you figure out your long-term goals and help you work towards them. It may seem fun now, wandering aimlessly through life, throwing money at any pretty, shiny thing that may come your way, however, how will you afford that car you have dreamed of owning, that first down payment on your home, or that trip to Mauritius? A budget will help you keep focus and will allow you to keep track of how far you have gone and ultimately assist you in reaching your dream. You will find it much easier to turn away from that newly released Playstation when you have a goal plan set out and have given yourself a time frame for reaching that goal.

  1. It stops you from spending what you don’t have

Far too many of us spend money that we don’t have all thanks to that little piece of plastic that is so easy to obtain in the form of credit. Credit spending in the country is at an all-time high with BusinessTech stating that in the second quarter of 2020 clients required around 62% of their net income to service debt every month with higher income earners requiring more of their income to service their debt. It’s a pesky reality, the more we earn, the more we spend. So how do we get around this? We create a budget but more importantly stick to it. Sure it is way more fun shamelessly going on extravagant shopping sprees than it is to crunch numbers, but in a year’s time, when appointments are being made with debt counselors, you will be guiltlessly booking that trip away knowing when you return that you will be debt-free.

  1. It helps lead to a happier retirement

If you are in your twenties or even early thirties, retirement might sound like something far too into the future to consider giving any thought or priority to. If this is your thinking, you couldn’t be more off the mark. We should all, from our very first job, be filtering a small portion of our savings into an investment, provident, or retirement account. The more years we have to invest, the greater the earnings later on. A budget will assist us in calculating the amount of money we have available, after set expenses, to invest in our retirement. In our glory years, we would all like to spend our time on golf courses and trips to the beach rather than working at a local grocery store in order to make ends meet.

  1. It helps prepare for emergencies

Life is unpredictable and full of unexpected surprises, twists, and turns. Unfortunately, sometimes life deals us a blow and we may get laid off, get ill, and end up with exorbitant medical bills, divorce, or face death in the family. In order to account for these unfortunate realities, we should be setting money aside each month to accommodate for these unexpected bills. Ideally, each of us should have three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved in case of such emergencies. The thought could overwhelm us if one were to calculate how much that would be, so in order to break it down into more manageable terms, we should be budgeting a portion of that into our monthly costs. If we set that portion aside religiously each month, we would eventually reach this nest egg amount and could even invest it into an easy access account to earn a little bit of extra interest.

  1. It helps us see our spending trends

Creating and reviewing a budget will shed light on our spending habits. You may notice a trend of overspending on groceries or perhaps your clothing fund. This can challenge us to question our spending habits. Did we really need those five new shirts we purchased last month? Did we get more value for money shopping at a certain butcher across town where we have a more reasonably priced butcher closer to home? Are we being wasteful at home as far as our electricity or water consumption goes? If we create a monthly budget, we will soon become aware of the costs of our certain expenses and will help us identify very quickly where we have overspent, which will, in turn, make us more aware of our wasteful habits going forward.

  1. It gives us peace of mind

I’m sure we have all been there, the month has come around and due to unexpected expenses, we are counting our rand and seeing how far it will stretch before that next payday. A number of studies have linked financial strain to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. By preparing a monthly budget we can ease some of that anxiety but seeing our overall financial picture in an organized and simplified manner. It will also help us to form a plan moving forward by putting steps into place which will make us feel in control of our financial situation and ease our stress and anxiety. Sometimes when put down on paper, things appear clearer and not as overwhelming as when they are running around in our heads.

The six points above are merely the tip of the iceberg. Keep it simple, write down your income, prioritize your expenses, include retirement, emergency contingencies, and goal savings and your balance left over will be your loose cash, to spend as you will. Use this basic method as a template, review and tweak it as your needs change and you will always be left feeling in control of your finances and ultimately be in control of your life.

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