Permaculture garden NURTURED

2016-07-13 06:00
Photo: supplied Toti Saints members create a food garden at MoP.

Photo: supplied Toti Saints members create a food garden at MoP.

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THE Toti Saints came marching further south from their recent beach project to help create a food forest at Mother of Peace (MoP) in Illovo.
MoP is home and family to 70 orphaned and vulnerable children in need of care, providing an additional 30 children under the age of 10 with educational support through early childhood development intervention and Foundation Phase primary school education.

In keeping with their sustainable goals, MoP started an additional garden this year to meet their goal to produce at least 70% of the fruit and vegetables they consume.

With a small community of over 100 children and adults and the additional support that MoP renders to impoverished families in the Inkwali area­, it became necessary to expand on what they have in order to meet growing needs.

It was fate that brought volunteers, Gerhard van Rooyen and Thabile Gasa to MoP. They have extensive experience in organic gardens and permaculture and made it their mission to turn the newly started cabbage patch into a thriving organic garden based on permaculture principles.

Van Rooyen arranged with Toti Saints to visit MoP on Sunday, 26 June to fast-track the preparation of three beds and the food forest, inviting people to bring seedlings or trees to plant. Caroline Grix from Toti Saints extended the invitation to families and children during the school holidays to take a tree or seedlings to plant on Tuesdays between 10am and 12pm.

“If you teach a man to fish, he has the skill to provide for himself and won’t go hungry. Teaching children from a young age about gardening and getting them involved equips them with the skill to survive. The way we have introduced permaculture principles in this garden has yielded quick results with lush vegetables. This is an immediate goal. The food forest is a long-term goal,” said Van Rooyen.
He called on the Toti community to join in and help feed the hungry and adopt the principles learnt to create gardens at home to improve food security.

Asked about the goals of the project Iris Canham, MoP general manager said: “The immediate goals are self- consumption and education. We have always had some form of a sustainability programme weaved into our school curriculum. Now children can learn about permaculture, nutrition, and the environment. It is very interesting. Housemothers and caregivers will also be trained on whole foods and the utilisation of vegetables, ways to grow vegetables, energy saving, nutrition, etc. The first training session since the new gardens have started will take place this week.
“The next step would be to partner with organisations for the training of the greater community to enhance food security. With escalating food prices­, we must return to basics and grow our food.”

MoP thanks the Toti Saints and all who invested time and other resources in this project.

This Mandela Month individuals, families, organisations and companies are invited to partner with MoP in creating a food forest that will feed hundreds of people while investing in the skill and education of children and adults so that we become a food secure nation.

Van Rooyen and Gaza encourage people to grow food not lawns.
To be a part of this initiative and for further information, contact Canham on 031 916 2299.

Permaculture is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient

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