This project aims to continue the highly successful development of schools as resource centres to train and support schools and communities in their area with Permaculture food gardening, sustainable natural resource development and nutrition and improved environments and quality of life. Piet N Aphane Senior Secondary School is situated in the Zebediela district in Potgietersrus, Limpopo. The school was established in 1994 and introduced to greening activities by FTFA's EduPlant Programme in 2001. There are 300 learners and 12 teachers. In 2004 the school participated in Greening the Future Mail & Guardian awards in which they received a certificate under the category Not for Profit Organisation Community Based Organisations. They seek to help their surrounding schools with training and resources such as water tanks, tools and plants.
Sithembile is supported by a very successful NGO known as the Ubuntu Education Fund that is dedicated to working with the people of the Eastern Cape. The school buildings are in good repair and there are sports fields, a few trees and a good food garden. The school's Permaculture garden is supported by a group of women and part of the garden belongs to them. In return for their tending to the rest of the garden they each have their own plot which they can use as they wish. The women tend to keep some of their produce and sell the excess. The produce from the garden is used to support a soup kitchen for the vulnerable learners and currently there are 300 such learners but in reality, all of the children in the school could be considered vulnerable since the unemployment figure of the area is so high that almost all of the learners are undernourished.
Mtuba Christian Academy, located in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu Natal has developed excellent Permaculture gardens and is already servicing 70 schools and communities in their vicinity. There are 22 staff members and 250 learners. The school runs a larger successful outreach programme in Hlabisa district and people buy on regular basis the produce from the garden and are directly involved in the outreach programme beneficiary schools' projects. They seek to help their surrounding schools with training and resources such as water tanks, tools and plants.
Bethesda Special School is located in Rosslyn in the North West. The school is extremely well resourced due to fund raising efforts and contributions by business and is very well managed and looked after. The project leader, Helen ,has a great challenge integrating permaculture into the lives of these children with severe learning disabilities, and to her credit she is succeeding. The school gardens are huge and productive and the quality of the vegetables is high but there is a need for more training and to support surrounding underserved communities.
Xihlovo Primary School in Malamulele in Limpopo Province has been attending the EduPlant competition for many years. The school also works with 15 community members. The project leader has entered many competitions and recently came 3rd in the Nestle awards but their gardens need to be developed to respond to the need of the many malnourished learners and community members.
Sizanani Primary School has been involved in EduPlant for many years and uses their project as a learning tool to empower the surrounding community by communicating the importance of eating organic produce that promotes nutrition and primary health care. They are also demonstrating sustainable environmental management.
Thuthukani Primary School is located in Tembisa, Gauteng. There are currently 13 staff members involved in this wonderful Permaculture garden project. They have been finalists and winners in the EduPlant programme over the last four years. They are trying to grow vegetables to supplement their diets and improve their health and immunity. They would like to increase their production by developing a new site and getting on site training to plant more vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants and fruit, but find it difficult due to funds shortage.
National Lottery - General Smuts - (41).jpgThe Mzinti Primary School has a productive food garden. The project members including learners, educators and community members are involved in the project implementation. A variety of vegetables are planted such as: cabbages, spinach, beetroot, peppermint, lemon grass, lettuce, and also fruit-trees to form a short term and a long-term production. The permaculture food garden incorporates water harvesting, conservation and management, soil enrichment and conservation, the planting of diverse range of food and indigenous plants, energy management, livestock integration and cultural knowledge, waste recycling and natural resource management and facilitates the teaching of all subjects practically. The vegetables produced are making a significant contribution towards and supplement the feeding at the school and surplus vegetables are donated to the needy community and children. The extras are sold to educators and local community to generate income which is be ploughed back to the project.
Mbanga Junior School in Butterworth, a small town in the Eastern Cape, faces severe problems within their community. Unemployment is high -between 60 and 80%. In the post-apartheid era the socio-economic conditions of local residents has declined considerably, as companies relocated back to the other side of the Kei River; there was no longer a lucrative subsidy that would keep their investment in the area. Despite many challenges the staff and SGB members remain optimistic and are very enthusiastic about this project. Their wish is to make an impact on the surrounding community, to encourage economic stability and also a sense of community.
Magudu Primary School in a rural area in a town called Singwedzi in Mpumalanga experiences low rain falls with extreme high temperatures, a high rate of malnutrition and 50% on learners are orphans due to the HIV/Aids epidemic. The unemployment rate is very high and the majority of people depend on farming. The school has been actively involved in the EduPlant programme for the past 10 years. One of the educators participated in the Nestle awards in 2004 and won first prize. The garden is well established with a variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit trees. Learners receive vegetables on a regular basis for home consumption. The school has an out reach programme with the surrounding community. The community are being empowered to propagate and sell their produce.
General Smuts High School in Vereeniging deals with freezing temperatures in winter, below -2 degrees centigrade, making it difficult to garden. Despite this the school garden is highly productive. Vegetables are harvested on a sustainable basis and sold in boxes to community. The veggie boxes are displayed on the stand at the school. The organic soup kitchen uses the harvest from the garden. With the funds generated from sales and fundraising, the school has employed on a permanent position a garden manager to look after all activities carried out in the school project. A big pond currently under construction is being used by natural science educators for lessons around ecosystem and diversity. There is high level of engagement of learners (school environmental club) in the project.