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Comhousing is changing the face of rural KwaZulu Natal - Earth Day 2013
Comhousing and Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) are working together to alleviate poverty and provide healthy food to those living in rural areas in KwaZulu Natal. The people in these areas will be hardest hit by climate change as rural households tend to rely heavily on climate sensitive resources such as local water supplies, locally produced food and other natural resources.
One educator can make the difference
Thousands of educators are attending workshops across the country, learning how to develop healthy and sustainable school environments that are conducive to learning.
EduPlant School Competition Winners Announced
The 2012 EduPlant National Schools Competition has today announced the 21 winning food gardening and greening schools across five categories. For the first time since the inception of the competition entries have been of an exceptionally high calibre.
“We believe that changing from an annual competition to a biennial one, coupled with more on site school cluster workshops, has helped schools to develop their gardens to the next level,” says Joanne Carty, EduPlant Programme Manager. “This augers well for food security and resilience to increasing prices and food shortages going forward.”
Wardia VGK Primer, Western Cape - Actively eating from the garden
Mr Fontein the educator at Wardia has a good understanding of gardening using stacking, mulching and companions, with a very good grasp on permculture design. There is evidence of zoning and through understanding through the whole system using common sense planning and application.
They have made careful attention to the improvement of the soil. Shortages of resources are well mitigated through rotation planting and soil enriching with broad beans in the wet season.
Vergesig Primary School, Western Cape - Running on an honour system
Miss Inke Scholtz joined Vergisig in November 2011 and quickly got to work at brining the defunct school food garden into production as a teaching oasis and established a Garden Club. The Garden club has a growing understanding of Permaculture design and gardening techniques that include mulching, chop & drop, companion and stacking in time and place.
The Garden club has 40 members who give of their after school hours 3 times a week.
EDUPLANT - A SOLUTION FOR FIXING THE BROKEN FOOD SYSTEM
Whilst many of us may have made New Year resolutions about eating less or improving our diets and health, for many young people in South Africa food has very different connotations. In 2013, the effective EduPlant programme enters its 20th year at a time when the need to address food security and find solutions to the pressing issues of our food systems are more crucial than ever before.
Mokone Primary School, Western Cape - Optimism yields results
Khangela, the project leader at Mokone, has applied everything she could from the cluster workshops. There is a productive wormfarm, windbreaks (more planned…trees needed), evidence of companion planting, insect attractants and repellants, rain catching system (just a drum..but, recognition of the value of rainwater for the plants), nutritious teas being made and used, seeds being saved (and given or sold to other gardens), propagation beds, main crop beds, beds that are prepared and ready for spring planting and areas where Lupins were regenerating the soil, an indigenous area, a quadrangle in the centre of the school where children respect the plants and assist in the care of them. There is only a rudimentary understanding of zoning. Wind direction and sun angles had been identified.
Khanyisa School, Western Cape An inspiration to us all -
Mr Ramsden, the project manager has a thorough understanding of where the garden is and where he wants to move towards. He works with learners who have learning disabilities and his belief is that the skills being taught to the learners are enough such that they will be able to take the knowledge and skills home to their communities and implement them there. The biggest challenge is the lack of funds available for the development of the garden. Mr Ramsden has developed a plan for the continuous development of the garden such that it includes seed-saving. The soil has been cover-cropped so as to increase its fertility as there is not enough compost on site. A dam is being dug to help keep water on the property. Trenches in the orchard stop the trees from getting flooded during the winter storms.
Uitsig Primary School, Northern Cape - Pigs, goats, sheep, everything
The Principal Mr Eric van Schalkwyk is fully involved with his team of educators, learners and community members and neighbouring farmers of the school. The garden is fenced and crops protected. Fruit trees are planted, seed beds are companioned, crops are well taken care of. A shade cloth has been erected to keep out hail and snow and prevent crops from the heat of the sun. They have included animals in the food production initiative – pigs, goats and sheep. Kraals and a pig sty have been built on the western side of the school. A quarter hectare not far from the animal steads is planted with lucern which is used to feed these animals.
Moholeng Primary School, Northern Cape - Good understanding
This school is a regular attendant of the one day workshops held in John Taolo Gaetsewe annually. They are trying to implement information they receive from the workshops though they do not mulch. The community is fully involved, the garden is very impressive, a nursery with seedlings in potting bags has been established. A tunnel which is 30mx60m was erected and was fully planted with different crops. The soil was composted though not mulched cauliflower fruit trees are also planted in the garden. A shabby structure of shade cloth has been erected to prevent snow, hail and birds from destroying their crops. For soil fertility they use compost they make, animal manure, Liquid manure. They have planted medicinal herbs – sutherlandia, aloe, wilde als, rue, mint and rosemary. Fruit trees are also planted in the garden.
Moedi Primary School, Northern Cape - Striving to improve lives
The host of the EduPlant Cluster workshop, the Principal Ms Lebogang Mei is fully involved with her team of educators, learners and community members. The garden is fenced and crops protected. Fruit trees are planted, seed beds are companioned, Crops are well taken care of
The community is fully involved and has been given a portion of land to start community garden to generate funds so as to can alleviate poverty and hunger by bringing food on the table and also to create jobs in the future.
Matshaneng Intermediate School, Northern Cape - Fully committed community
The school is one of the schools participating at the EduPlant Cluster workshop at Moedi Secondary. Stakeholders in the project have an understanding and everyone knows the roles they have to play. Learners are involved with their learning activities. They make their own compost, liquid manure, Rotate Their crops, companion their cultivars. The soil was well composted and prepared for planting in spring. Seed beds were mulched.
Lehikeng Intermediate School, Northern Cape - Lively learners
This school is always represented in the one day workshops held in the area of Kuruman. They are implementing information they receive from the workshops. The community is fully involved, the garden is very impressive as it was fully planted with the following crops - lettuce, onion, spinach, garlic, onion, carrots, and cauliflower. Fruit trees are also planted in the garden. A shabby structure of shade cloth has been erected to prevent snow, hail and birds from destroying their crops. For soil fertility they use the compost that they make, animal manure, Liquid manure and have planted soil conditioning plants such as comfrey and tansy.
SiphakamileSchool, KwaZulu Natal - Sustainable skills transfer
All that are involved in the garden have a good understanding of the concepts and application of the principles. They were able to explain in detail all components in the garden regarding swales, windbreaks, compost heaps, liquid nutrients and other principles and methodology.
The project leader works pro-actively. Greenhouses were erected to work in winter and they acquired an additional piece of land for main crops, of which they are growing enough to sell and sustain the programme.
Rainbow Eco Homeschool, KwaZulu Natal – Eager to share
This school follows the Permaculture Curriculum. There is absolutely nothing that they don’t know or understand about Permaculture. The educator is very active in the community and she is also the editor of a local schools newspaper called Impendle Eco-Schools. They have applied all Permaculture Principles in their garden. They are an eco-school (green flag).
Their response to challenges is quick and effective. Goats eating their vegetable crop resulted in a fence being erected. CD’s were hung in the trees to try and keep the birds away from the vegetable garden. Veldfires will be dealt with by the sprinkler system now in place.
Izwelesizwe Primary School, KwaZulu Natal - A sense of love for the garden
The learners as well as the project leader understand Permaculture Principles. When you walk into this school you can sense their love for their gardens. The learners were able to explain why they make compost heaps of which they have 13! They also explained to us that they have borehole water, rainwater and municipal water but they are not allowed to use the municipal water as they pay for it and the other water is free. The educator is young and energetic and clearly loves the work he is doing in the gardens.
The one vegetable garden is in a rocky area but they are busy digging and removing the rocks. They have fenced in their gardens to keep goats out. The seedlings are covered with net to keep the birds out.
Greenbury Primary, KwaZulu Natal - Achieving so much in such a short time
The project members understand Permaculture Principles. They started their garden in 2011 after the project co-ordinator attended his first workshop. The garden is enclosed and covered with shadecloth to protect it from monkeys. A wormery is in the orchard area which is protected from the sun by various fruit trees. There is a big, well maintained compost heap. There is a vegetable garden surrounded by a herb garden, flower pots and a nursery with potted plants. The school promotes health and healthy activities, with a permaculture club and an environmental club.
There was a problem with monkeys eating the crop, but this has been rectified by covering the garden with shadecloth, and some very scary scarecrows.
Carisbrooke Primary School, KwaZulu Natal - Creative networking
The project co-ordinator is also the Principal of the school. Mr Shoba involves the whole school, that is all the learners and educators in the Permaculture Programme. The learners took FTFA Ecopreneur for a walk through their school garden and they were able to explain to us everything they do at school. What the herbs are used for, why they have planted trees in certain areas, the wormery, green tea, chilli spray etc. The school reaches out to surrounding schools as well as the community. The Department of Agriculture as well as the Department of Correctional Services are just two organisations that they work with. Mr Shoba runs workshops to educate educators from other schools regarding Permaculture. They have painted the whole school – every tyre, container, drum and stone – to the theme of “go green”.
Bambanani Primary School, KwaZulu Natal - Positive lifestyle changes for all
They have adopted a holistic approach to bring about positive lifestyle changes in the whole community. Their thriving vegetable gardens have added to the humanitarian spirit of this very deep rural community. There is a need for self reliance - learners have adopted families - after school they take seeds ; seedlings and drinking water to the older people . In addition to teaching them about permaculture and help setting up their gardens they assist with washing and cleaning of their homes. Extensive networking has resulted in the establishment of a computer centre and much of their knowledge on permaculture has been gleaned via the internet.
Sosukwana Primary School, KwaZulu Natal - True appreciation of permaculture
The project leaders drive and initiative has resulted in 50 schools ; 2 ECD centres ; churches ; and NGO's becoming part of her mentoring programme.Government departs call upon Mrs. Ngcobo to motivate schools to develop food gardens using pictures of her thriving gardens . The woman empowerment initiative has seen a number of unemployed mothers joining the commercial gardening committee.
To ensure that projects commence adequate tools and resources are obtained from sponsors. The success of the chicken tractors has resulted in the parent component doing a feasibiltiy study on setting up a chicken farm - the eggs are given to indigent learners.
Titirheleni Primary School, Limpopo - Great potential for abundance
The one-day EduPlant and cluster workshops assisted the school to initiate a permaculture food garden project at the school. The project leader, educators and learners have permaulture skills, information and knowledge. The permaculture principles are being applied.
The permaculture food garden project is productive and produces vegetables that are used for supplementing feeding scheme with the surplus being sold to community members. The funds raised are used for purchasing plant materials such as vegetable seedlings, seeds, herbs and manure. The school is also involved in teaching learners about appropriate technologies such as solar heating.
Semana Primary School, Limpopo – Creative use of the outdoor classroom
The educators of the school attended a one-day introduction to EduPlant workshop and cluster workshops at Shikhati. The school was involved in monoculture. After one of the educators attended the workshops she was motivated and encouraged to turn from monoculture to permaculture farming technologies. The school has started applying permaculture principles in the food garden project.
The Permaculture food garden beds are well designed, mulched, inter-planted. The following vegetables were inter-planted such as beetroot, spinach, cabbages, onion, carrots and Chinese mustard. The project members are using animal manure and mulch to fertilise the soil and conserve water.
Phaphazela Junior Primary School, Limpopo - A model school permaculture project
The educators are well informed in terms of permaculture concepts and principles. The school has a large piece of land used for permaculture food gardening. It was evident that most of permaculture principles are being applied in the permaculture food garden project. The educators are well equipped with permaculture experience, skills and information by the way the permaculture food garden project is designed. The vegetable beds are designed in a way that all the water runoff is being captured and benefits the plants and prevents soil erosion.
The vegetable beds are heavily mulched, vegetables, herbs and fruit-trees and indigenous trees are integrated. The project members are propagating their own vegetable seedlings, have a few compost heaps and liquid manure ready to be used in the garden.
Motholo Lower Primary School, Limpopo - Wonderful students of their mentor
The learners are involved in the garden, and their understanding of Permaculture is amazing and they are working very hard. The school is mentored by Pula Madibogo who have assisted with skills transfer regarding design and water saving technologies. Piles of compost are evidence that the teachings were clear and well received.
There is a water shortage in the area however the school invested in a water tank which use during times when there is no water. There are basins in front of each class for learners to wash hands and the water is channeled into the garden
Magoda Primary School, Limpopo – An excellent understanding of design -
The Magoda permaculture food garden leader has been participating in several environmental and EduPlant competitions. Most of the permaculture principles are being applied in the permaculture food garden project. The vegetable beds are designed in such a way that all the water runoff is being harvested and benefit the plants. Inter-planting, companion and crop rotation is being applied. The garden is heavily mulched to conserve and manage water in the project. The vegetables and inter-planted with variety of fruit-trees and indigenous non-fruit trees which form a long and short term production and stabilise the soil.
Lukwarani Primary Limpopo - Great permaculture skills and information
Lukwarani school has been participating in several environmental and EduPlant competitions. All the permaculture principles are being applied in the permaculture food garden project. It was evident that the project leaders are well equipped with great permaculture experience, skills and information by the way the permaculture project is designed. The vegetable beds are designed in a such way that all the water runoff is being captured to water the plants and prevent soil erosion.
The vegetable beds are well designed, mulched, and inter-planted with fruit trees. The project members are propagating their own vegetable seedlings in the garden and make their own compost and liquid manure for the project.
Kotankwe Primary School, Limpopo - Whole school support
The learners, educators and community are very involved and there is support from the whole school. There are Permaculture systems in place and the knowledge which is shown by both learners and community members is amazing. Pula Madibogo also mentored this school and through this the learners and community members manage to expand the garden. The beds which were designed by their mentor are still evident on the ground. Liquid manure, sugar cane and sour fig were established and sugar cane is planted to act as fire break.
All systems are in place working together interconnected which make the whole system work together for the good and protect itself.
Hans Masibe Primary School, Limpopo - Remarkable learner involvement
The learners have a remarkable understanding of Permaculture, ethics and the principles. The educators made an effort to visit Mafolofolo and Pula Madibogo to learn as much as they can. The garden is well developed, the entrance is very beautiful and consists of flowers, herbs and vegetables, nicely designed spacing following natures patterns. The learners are very knowledgable about the vegetables which are used on the feeding scheme. There was proper planning before garden development. Around the trees herbs are growing to repel pests and basins are made for water harvesting.
Shikhati Primary School, Limpopo - A hub of activity
Food & Trees for Africa has established Permaculture Resource Centres at schools around the country. The resource centres are working as catalyst to spearhead Permaculture in very remote areas. Shikhati Primary School was identified and selected as a mentoring school after its involvement in promoting permaculture activities in several schools in the Tzaneen district and have also been identified to be established as a resource center for the area with support from Pioneer Foods.
The school has been host to several one day and cluster workshops for local schools in the district. The project at Shikhati has motivated and inspired a number of schools to start permaculture gardens.
Pula Madibogo, Limpopo – Fabulous food forest
Pula Madibogo has really been able to take their permaculture project to the next level through the sale of fresh vegetables, eggs, herbs, chicken manure and chickens. Through this they are able to generate income and expand and develop their project. They have a well thought out marketing plan and are a shining example of a mentoring school.
There is a thorough understanding of permaculture that is being transferred to many other schools in the area through workshops and visits to these schools.