School wins with garden

2018-10-17 06:04
The Nozala Intermediate School team celebrates winning first prize in the Free State in this year’s national EduPlant competition. From the left are, front: Annastasia Ngcobondwane, November Mkateko, Sontshatsha Vuyani and Mankayi Nkosinathi; back: Katy Hayes (Woolworths corporate social investment specialist) and Robyn Hills (Food and Trees for Africa programmme manager).Photo: Supplied

The Nozala Intermediate School team celebrates winning first prize in the Free State in this year’s national EduPlant competition. From the left are, front: Annastasia Ngcobondwane, November Mkateko, Sontshatsha Vuyani and Mankayi Nkosinathi; back: Katy Hayes (Woolworths corporate social investment specialist) and Robyn Hills (Food and Trees for Africa programmme manager).Photo: Supplied

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A team of learners led by a dedicated teacher at the Nozala Intermediate School in Phahameng, Bloemfontein, has won the school an exciting prize at this year’s national EduPlant competition.

The school’s team was named the Free State winner at the prestigious competition final held at Konka in Magaliesberg on Friday (12/10).

The Nozala team was among the 66 finalists representing their school in the biennial finals, in which prizes of over R430 000 were distributed.

The school received the prize (R7 500) for its innovative food garden that supplements feeding schemes, and for educating the learners about climate change, community resilience, healthy environments and natural vegetable production.

This is the second time the school has been in the national final. In 2016 the school was shortlisted as a finalist.

Passionate teacher Annastasia Ngcobondwane has been working with a dedicated group of 15 learners over two years to find a turnaround strategy to teaching the learners the importance of food security.

She says she established the thriving small-scale food garden in the school yard in 2013, prompted by a need for food security.

“The garden was started with the support of the principal as part of a life-long project to teaching the learners about food security and sustainability,” says Ngcobondwane.

“A food garden is something I grew up with, having been taught by my parent of its importance at a young age in the Eastern Cape.

“I’m very encouraged to see the young ones at my school very interested and actively participating in this food garden project.”

Due to its sustainability, the Nozala food garden was entered in the competition, sponsored by EduPlant, the country’s leading food gardening programme – initiated and managed by Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA). It has been sponsored by the Woolworths Trust over the past 14 years.

Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths director of corporate affairs, says the finalists’ project supported the 2018 World Food Day theme, “Our actions are our future”.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations is promoting a #zerohunger world by 2030.

“Altogether 14 million people are at risk of hunger every day in South Africa, so local food gardening initiatives such as EduPlant play an important role in increasing vulnerable people’s access to sustainably produced, nutritious foods,” says Mgolodela.

“We are very proud of the 2018 EduPlant winners.”

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