Schools reap benefits from food gardens

Tanya Pangalele

Tanya Pangalele

South Africans are experiencing high food costs and no one feels the pinch more than an estimated 35percent of the population. These are the 15million people who are vulnerable to food insecurity.

Community food gardens make a big difference to communities who suffer from food shortages and inadequate nutrition.

The Woolworths Trust, in association with SAFM and the Education Department, will launch the 2009 EduPlant programme with the roll-out of 63 free permaculture food-gardening workshops for teachers.

Facilitated by programme co-ordinators, Food & Trees for Africa, the one-day workshops are exciting hands-on learning experiences held in all provinces from February through to March.

Woolworths Trust EduPlant has a proven track record of supporting motivated teachers in their efforts to enhance food security and to promote sustainable development in communities.

Schools reap many benefits. A thriving permaculture food garden at school provides hungry children with fresh produce.

Many EduPlant schools also boost their income by selling surplus produce. Teachers become food security champions in their community by teaching others how to establish food gardens.

Participating schools learn a practical and satisfying way to live within the limits of nature, reaping the benefits of producing good food while saving resources and recycling waste.

The permaculture way is a cost-effective and easy way to achieve self-reliance and to improve nutrition and health.

All teachers are invited to the workshops. Topics include natural-resource mapping, recycling design, water harvesting, soil improvement and how to involve pupils in the garden.

Once they have designed and developed a food garden, teachers can enter their projects in the annual EduPlant competition where they can win prizes and travel to Gauteng to take part in an exciting three-day finals event.

Chairman of the Woolworths Trust, Brian Frost, says: "The free workshop is the first step for teachers who want to make a difference in their community.

"From then on, they are part of an inspiring journey towards more sustainable and healthy living. Last year, the trust initiated the mentoring category because we recognise that benefits can extend well beyond the school's grounds. At the heart of this is a dedicated educator willing and able to help and support others in a drive for sustainable community development," Frost said.

To attend, contact Joanne Rolt at FTFA on 011-803-9750 or e-mail