Johannesburg. 11 July 2022. This Mandela Month, a further 300 schools across South Africa have officially become EduPlant schools and provided with the tools, training, and educational materials to grow their own gardens as a means of supplementing their nutritional needs with fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit.
The EduPlant Programme is an initiative of Food & Trees for Africa, in partnership with Tiger Brands, and compliments meals provided to learners by schools through the National School Nutrition Programme (NSPS), a programme also supported by Tiger Brands through the Tiger Brands Foundation.
Nosiphelo Nkani, EduPlant Programme Coordinator, points out that "the skills development aspect of the EduPlant Programme plays a vital role in empowering schools and communities to improve their livelihoods, and to supply school-aged children with nutritious and healthy meals. Successful food gardens can be income-generating sites too.”
School teachers in Mitchellsplein Cluster 1 at the school garden of Chulaine Afrika at Cedar School of the Arts, where they apply their Permaculture theory knowledge to the practical application of the school garden creation and maintenance.
Thousands of schools across the country are EduPlant schools, with fresh produce harvested from gardens benefiting approximately 18,000 learners each year.
The most recent schools onboarded are based in all 9 provinces and have already broken ground in their gardens, with the first consistent harvests are already producing fresh veggies daily. These gardens are expected to supplement the daily meals of around 12,000 learners.
Tiger Brands became a partner of the EduPlant programme in 2019 and its efforts to provide nutritious meals to learners are well aligned with the company’s long-running support of the National School Nutrition Programme through the Tiger Brands Foundation. The Foundation serves breakfast daily to more than 74 000 learners in 95 schools, across all nine provinces.
“As a food producer, Tiger Brands is in a position to help address the growing challenge of hunger in vulnerable communities across South Africa. However, it’s more than just providing what we have, it is using our available resources to implement initiatives and partner with likeminded organisations, such as Food & Trees for Africa, to equip and empower people to support their own nutritional needs in a sustainable manner. That way, they are not dependent on others, where their basic need to access sufficient, safe and nutritious food is concerned,” says Preeya Naidu, Social Transformation Manager, Tiger Brands.
The EduPlant programme runs over a two-year cycle. The current cycle will culminate in a competition at the end of 2023 to select the most thriving school gardens. The impact of the programme is measured by the change of attitude in environmental awareness, increased knowledge and skills for growing food sustainably, and the integration of learning gardens in the curriculum.