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Winning EduPlant formula affirms national impact of addressing food security

The biennial school food gardening competition has once again brought together the brightest and best aspiring young farmers of the future under one roof.

The EduPlant National Food Gardening and Greening Competition, of which the Woolworths Trust is the funding partner, is Food & Trees for Africa's national programme teaching educators, learners and communities how to sustainably grow their own food.

Now in its second decade, it has grown from a small seed to an initiative that addresses on a national scale, the very real threat of food insecurity facing communities today.

In South Africa, rising food prices in response to climatic, political and economic factors have placed more South Africans below the breadline and the urgency to address these challenges has heavily burdened large scale agriculture. Solutions to this are the basis of what makes permaculture, and EduPlant, such a powerful tool. The need for emerging farmers is greater than ever.

"Initiatives such as the EduPlant programme have never been more relevant than in the current global environment. Malnutrition has life-long detrimental impacts on learning capacity and productivity. How do our future leaders fulfill their potential when they attend school on an empty stomach? EduPlant is growing our collective future through these young farmers", said Ms Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths’ Head of Transformation.

Overall, the number of entries to the competition were of an extremely high standard. Judges had a difficult task to isolate the best gardens and the star schools whose learners had real, experiential permaculture knowledge.

The Gala event, held on 6 October at the Bosco Youth Centre, was the highlight of the week. After the opportunity for 66 school finalists including one educator and three learners to present their gardens to a judging panel, the winners of each category were selected.

Emerging Category (Schools entering for the first time):
1. Henryville Primary School – KwaZulu Natal
2. Garden Village Primary School – Western Cape
3. Velimemeze Primary School – KwaZulu Natal

Intermediate Category:
1. Kutlwanong School for Deaf – North West
2. Richlea Primary School – KwaZulu Natal
3. Mahlahluvana Primary School – Mpumalanga

Advanced Category:
1. Roseway Waldorf School – KwaZulu Natal
2. Siphakamile Primary School – KwaZulu Natal
3. Seyisi Primary School – Eastern Cape

Mentoring Category:
1. Mailakgang Primary School – North West
2. Moriting Primary School – Limpopo
3. Sosukwana Primary School – KwaZulu Natal

Provincial Winners:
1. Gelukwaarts Primary School - Free State
2. Stanger Training Centre - KwaZulu Natal
3. Mofolofolo High School - Limpopo
4. Mabandla Junior Secondary School - Eastern Cape
5. Dimakatso Primary School - Gauteng
6. Letshego Primary School - Northern Cape
7. Alexandria Primary School - Mpumalanga
8. Edisang Primary School- North West
9. Eden Skool - Western Cape

Just over R400 000 in prizes were distributed. Aside from the winner’s prizes, all 66 finalist schools went home with just over R1200 in cash, educational resources, stationery, seeds and other gardening materials to enhance the sustainability of their gardens.

This is an amazingly creative space encompassing the best aspects of community gardening, created by a growing number of community members who care about their nutritive and social wellbeing, as well as the health and livelihoods of the kids”, said Tshepiso Senetla, FTFAs EduPlant Coordinator.

Said an educator after the event “As the winner of this category it’s amazing to see the wonderful work being done. The workshops were of a very high quality, well organized. We look forward to all future endeavours with FTFA as well as Woolworths Trust. We are honoured to make KwaZulu Natal proud. Well done to all!”
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