Henryville pupils grow produce for school’s feeding scheme

2016-10-26 06:00
Henryville Primary School pupils and teacher with their EduPlant trophy (from left) Vanessa Duke (teacher), Thobeka Magwaza, Mxolisi Nzimande (teacher), Sfundo Mweli, Fikile Ngcobo (principal) and Zandisiwe Maduna.          PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile

Henryville Primary School pupils and teacher with their EduPlant trophy (from left) Vanessa Duke (teacher), Thobeka Magwaza, Mxolisi Nzimande (teacher), Sfundo Mweli, Fikile Ngcobo (principal) and Zandisiwe Maduna. PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile

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A GROUP of Grade 7 pupils from Henryville Primary School in Edendale are using gardening to change the lives of fellow pupils and their community.

The pupils started a gardening project that now feeds destitute families and provides food for the school’s feeding scheme.

Through the project, the pupils recently won more than R10 000 after entering the EduPlant competition, which encourages schools to start their own environmentally friendly food gardens.

Henryville Primary was announced winners of the competition in the emerging category at the finals held in Johannesburg from 3 to 7 October.

Pupil Sfundo Mweli, who was selected to represent the school in the competition, said they will use a portion of the prize money to buy gardening tools to ensure the project continues after they leave the school.

“We are all from vulnerable families and we thought to start this project could help us not go hungry at school and home. Through this project, we have learnt that no matter how young you are, you can still provide for your family just by planting. We are also proud that we have added nutritional value and variety to our school meals and that we feed the whole school.”

Sifundo said they have also encouraged parents to start environmentally friendly gardens and they offer home visit to show them gardening methods that are not harmful to the environment.

He said they started the project with the help of their science teacher Mxolisi Nzimande after he attended one of the permaculture workshops by EduPlant on how to implement and nurture food gardens at schools.

Nzimande said they started the gardening project because they wanted to encourage pupils to understand how food is grown and how a combination of good nutrition and physical activity contributed to a healthier life.

“We started the gardening project and practised new methods to make sure our gardening was environmentally friendly and that it followed permaculture principles. Our methods include using the gradual watering system. This method slowly delivers water into the soil directly around the roots. The children also recycled two-litre bottles to make their own drip irrigation system for free,” said Nzimande.

The pupils say through Eduplant they learnt about inter-planting.

Thobeka Magwaza, who also represented the school in the competition, explained that this was a way of growing plants together for their mutual benefit.

“This method works because it provides shelter from the tallest to the smallest plants. We learnt that most plants don’t need the sun, this method helps to improve the health of others plants to make sure that diseases are not spread easily.”

Henryville Primary will be competing in the next round of the EduPlant competition in December.

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