Its EduPlant programme, run by FTFA since 1994, is the country’s longest running and most impactful school greening and gardening programme. More than a quarter of school-aged children in South Africa are stunted and malnourished, and school food gardens are an important way for children to get the nutrition they need to thrive. EduPlant has brought school gardens to thousands of schools. The finalists of its “Best permaculture garden competition 2020” will be announced on 16 October, World Food Day.
Endorsed by the Department of Basic Education’s National School Nutrition Programme, EduPlant offers schools in under-resourced communities and townships the resources; training and support they need to develop or improve their food gardens. EduPlant is now looking for the best school garden. Since 1994, the EduPlant programme has been running since 1994, the EduPlant programme has been running competitions that bring together the best food-growing schools in the country for a weeklong event to incentivize and further develop gardens at the best performing-schools. In 2020, schools will be required to submit videos and photos highlighting their permaculture garden for the coveted title of best permaculture garden in the country.
Teachers and learners say that the effects of this programme extend beyond school fences.
“We appreciate what EduPlant is doing,” say teachers from Banana Primary School in Limpopo. “It also plays a role in our communities and encourages learners to have their own gardens at home. [It teaches] us low-cost ways of having a sustainable garden.
“The EduPlant School Gardening and Nutrition Programme is the epitome of resilience,” says programme coordinator Tshepiso Senetla. “Over the past years, EduPlant has empowered thousands of schools and communities to grow their own food in a sustainable way.”
For FTFA food programmes manager Robyn Hills, EduPlant is also vital for sharing and retaining indigenous knowledge: "EduPlant and school gardens specifically hold an enormous amount of indigenous knowledge,” she says. “People share seeds and techniques for growing, for drying and storing vegetables. We find that schools whose gardens incorporate community support also have better relationships with their neighbours. You can imagine why – if your immediate community is invested in the school grounds, it reduces negligence, truancy and vandalism. Fresh, naturally grown herbs and veggies are so important; they should be and can be available to all.”
The winners of the EduPlant competition will be announced at the end of October.
About the EduPlant Programme
Initiated and managed by Food & Trees, the EduPlant Programme is a flagship initiative of the Woolworths Trust. Over the last 16 years, The Woolworths Trust has donated R 34.6 million to the programme. The EduPlant aims to increase the availability of nutritious food through permaculture food gardens in schools. It enables hundreds of schools and communities to grow their own food in a healthy, environmental and sustainable way. Woolworths has also contributed employee time, through volunteering initiatives that contribute to EduPlant food gardens.
About Food & Trees for Africa
Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is a leading Section 21 Non-Profit Social Enterprise that addresses food security and environmental sustainability. Having been in South African social development for 27 years, FTFA highlights education and skills training integrated with sensitive mentorship and phased support. With initiatives that address climate change and greening, promote natural resource management, organic farming and food security and sustainable enterprise development – FTFA understands what it takes to achieve real, long-term sustainability and make a positive difference to the lives of all South Africans.
Learn more here: https://trees.org.za/eduplant/