In recognition of Arbour Month, Primedia Outdoor extends its long-term food garden partnership with NGO Food & Trees for Africa. In joined forces, the aim of this initiative is to grow and maintain food gardens across the country which serve as a true source of nutritious food to support the school feeding schemes.
As part of Primedia Outdoor’s investment in education, their main intention is to support learning through nourishment of the body and the mind, to make a real difference in learners’ day to day lives. Offering learners nourishing food throughout the day, ensures that the general well-being and academic performance of learners are enhanced.
Since 2011, Primedia Outdoor has actively been involved in establishing vegetable gardens at schools and has already invested in six vegetable gardens at schools and youth centres in various parts of South Africa. Together with Food & Trees for Africa, further investment has been made in two more gardens for the Siyamnaka Youth Centre in Pinetown, KwaZulu Natal and Balebogeng Primary School in Mamelodi, Gauteng.
The Siyamnaka Youth Centre garden started in March, is flourishing under the committed care of the community. The garden is on its way to becoming a continuous source of nutritious vegetables for the community with its first harvest planned for November this year.
Started in June this year, the garden at Balebogeng’s Primary School has already produced a winter crop for harvesting. During the first week of September, in continuation of nurturing the garden, Primedia Outdoor staff and the garden’s guardians ̶ Grade 7 learners, educators and groundsman ̶ transplanted fresh spinach, beetroot, tomato and various herbs for the summer crop, adding to the healthy harvest already in use for the school’s feeding scheme.
Balebogeng Primary School’s headmistress Grace Mkhize was delighted with the wholesome harvest and said: “A number of our learners come from the informal settlement and many arrive at school without even having had a meal.” “The vegetable garden will help to augment daily school meals with nutritious vegetables”, said Mkhize.
Food & Trees for Africa’s Sylvester Nzimande also offered an insightful workshop that covered soil preparation, seed sowing, transplanting and harvesting techniques. As part of the initiative Food & Trees for Africa offers biweekly training and support, effectively transferring permaculture skills to the community to maintain the gardens as long-term sources of nutrition. Primedia Outdoor staff is committed to the ongoing development of the gardens and visit regularly to lend a hand and keep tabs on their progress.
“Education continues to be a key driver of our CSI projects,” said Peter Lindstrom Sales and Marketing Executive at Primedia Outdoor. “We have realised that in order for children to concentrate fully on schoolwork, nutrition is key. Our core focus is on empowering the school’s feeding scheme through food gardens to ensure the optimal physical and mental functioning of learners. Often, the food learners receive during school breaks serve as the only nutritious meal they have for that day, making this initiative ever more important in promoting the long-term well-being and learning potential of these children.”