School reaps the care volunteers sow

2017-10-18 06:01
Justice Tala (left, Woolworths staff member) working with Gr.6 learner Phenyo Makhala (13) to plant one of the fruit trees at the Venus Primary School in Homevale.Photo: Boipelo Mere

Justice Tala (left, Woolworths staff member) working with Gr.6 learner Phenyo Makhala (13) to plant one of the fruit trees at the Venus Primary School in Homevale.Photo: Boipelo Mere

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The Venus Primary School in Homevale will soon reap the benefits of the hard work invested in its food garden thanks to a prominent ­retailer’s assistance in ­re-establishing the garden on Wednesday (11/10).

Through partnership with the Department of Education, the staff of Woolworths in the Diamond Pavilion Mall, the North Cape Mall and the central business district were joined by learners to plant food trees and vegetables.

That is after their garden had fallen prey to vandalism, with criminals cutting the fence and helping themselves to the produce.

The initiative was organised in support of World Food Day and was aimed at supporting food security for the almost 1 300 learners in the community.

According to James Rouls, store manager of Woolworths in the Diamond Pavilion Mall, the initiative formed part of the EduPlant Volunteer Day, which entails going out into the community and joining children in learning about permaculture food gardening, while helping to expand the garden and boost the school’s sustainable food production.

“We dig new beds, mulch, compost, plant and water, as well as donating compost, seedlings and tools,” said Rouls.

The 2017 theme for World Food Day, which is commemorated on 16 October, is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development”.

The Venus Primary School is reportedly an ongoing participant in the national EduPlant Permaculture Food Gardening Programme and Competition.

The school welcomed the additional assistance to take their food garden to the next level.

EduPlant, initiated and managed by Food and Trees for Africa, provides free workshops for educators to learn permaculture skills.

Freshly grown vegetables, fruits and herbs grown in the Venus Primary School’s food garden supplements the school feeding scheme and is shared once a month with community members ­struggling to maintain food security.

The deputy principal of the school, Gordon Plaatjies, said that the good thing about this initiative was that the learners would take the experience home and plough back into the community, which has a high rate of poverty.

“It is purely due to vandalism that we lost our first food garden, as the situation got out of hand – our own community failed to protect it,” said Plaatjies.

“At least now we have volunteers within the community who are willing to look after and adopt it.”

The school has since replaced its fencing with stronger material.

“We would appreciate it if someone could donate some material so we can fence off the garden.”

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