GROWING FOOD FOR THE NATION

THE nominees for the 15th yearly Nestlé Community Nutrition Awards have been named and the winners will be announced in Johannesburg tomorrow, writes Victor Mecoamere.

THE nominees for the 15th yearly Nestlé Community Nutrition Awards have been named and the winners will be announced in Johannesburg tomorrow, writes Victor Mecoamere.

These unsung heroes ensure food security for their families, schools and communities. This year about 250 nominations were received nationally, with the highest entries coming from schools around the country.

In the women's category the overall winner will receive R150000, while the two second prize winners will receive R75000 each, and the most promising food garden will earn its creator a whopping R30000.

In the schools category, the winning school will receive R50000, the two runners-up will each receive R20000 - and R10000 will be awarded to the most promising food garden.

Here are the the nominated schools entries:

l Gauteng: Gontse, Zitha and Tsoaranang primary schools;

l Limpopo: Mboswobeni, Mafolofolo and Makeketela primary schools;

l Mpumalanga: Mvangathini Primary School;

l Northern Cape: Zingisani Primary School; and

Western Cape: Saxonsea Primary School;

In the community-led food gardens category the nominees are:

l Gauteng: Phembindlela and Thuthukani Liphumile Food Garden Project;

l KwaZulu-Natal: Sizabantu Nazareth Community Garden;

Limpopo: RM Vegetable and Fruit Produce Enterprise and Bale Community Project;

l Mpumalanga: Masizame Community Garden, Joseph Dam Food Gardens and the Bambanani Community and Nursery Project.

Nestlé South Africa initiated the awards in 1993 following a need to recognise and reward efforts by women who work towards improving the nutritional status of their families and communities by encouraging communities to combat poverty and malnutrition by creating their own food gardens and ensure food security.

This year the competition was expanded to include a schools category to acknowledge the positive trend by many schools across South Africa that have started food gardens as part of the national schools nutrition programme.

The vegetables harvested from the gardens are used to create a balanced and nutritious diet for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Through the schools category, Nestlé seeks to encourage schools, especially at primary level, to continue improving their gardens; and the prize money is to ensure that their gardens remain sustainable.

"The UN has identified poverty as the first Millennium Development Goal that needs to be eradicated," Sullivan O'Carroll, the managing director and chairperson of Nestlé South Africa, said this week.

"In our attempts to respond to this challenge, we have recognised food gardens as one of the answers to this problem.

"Households and schools can create their own food security by growing their own food and feedingthemselves."

To date, 70 women have received financial rewards for their efforts.

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