JOHAN Hus Primary School-learners not only learn about the environment hands-on, but the crops they grow are also used in the school kitchen to feed learners.
An avid gardener from the tender age of eight, Georgie Botha (60), who has been the caretaker at the school for a decade, tends to the school garden with help from the 200 learners and some of the teachers.
“The teachers of the school, situated at the foot of the picturesque Tsitsikamma Mountains in Humansdorp, teach the learners about the environment during natural studies classes. At the same time, they work with me in the garden where I teach them about the crops, and how to take care of the plants,” says Botha.
Botha, a knowledgeable gardener, says the crops need regular watering and he would like to expand the garden to potentially sell some of the extra crops.
The Shoprite Group, fighting hunger by supporting food gardens in communities for a minimum of 18 months throughout South Africa, stepped in to provide proper water infrastructure for the garden: a borehole, a pump, piping and a 5000-litre water tank.
Each garden partners with one of the group’s supermarkets closest to it - in this case Usave Thornham in nearby Nompumelelo.
“As retailers we care about the communities we serve, and our partnership with Johan Hus Primary School is another way in which we play our part to ensure that people have access to a regular supply of fresh, nutritious vegetables,” says Usave Thornham Branch Manager Thembisa Ntoni.
“In addition, the next generation learns to grow their own food, ensuring that food security in the community is not a problem going forward.”
The Shoprite Group’s implementation partner, Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA), provided training, compost and vegetable seedlings: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and beans to help Botha add to theexisting crops of beetroot, carrots, spinach and leeks.
“I knew nothing about permaculture, so the training has been very good for us. They are teaching us new ways to plant and that’s going to help us expand our small garden and make it sustainable,” says Botha.
“I always look forward to the training, because I teach the children everything I learn. We’re all learning these new skills together.”