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Schools Gardens | Umthathi Training Project
 

SCHOOLS GARDENS

To enable sustainable healthy living by training school communities in cultivation and livelihoods skills and encouraging the transfer of skills to the surrounding community as well as supporting the school's feeding scheme.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

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In 1998, the 3-year School Gardens Programme was started in 4 township schools and now services 40 township and rural schools.

VEGETABLE CULTIVATION

By enabling school communities to develop the skills to grow healthy food and enhance wellbeing through school nutrition programmes and the use of medicinal plants, the Umthathi Schools Programme is working in an arena of dire need in our society.

INTEGRATION WITH THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM

Each school is part of the programme for a three-year period and lessons include:

  • Permaculture gardening theory and practical skills which are environmentally friendly and not cost intensive,
  • Basic business skills. Teaching learners how to market excess vegetables using principles that are applicable to any business,
  • Enhancing group work skills,
  • Leadership skills,
  • Health and nutrition information.

LEADERSHIP AND GROUP WORK SKILLS

Social Skills: Small and large group projects encourage learners to take individual responsibilities for the benefit of the garden and the group. They learn communication, leadership and decision-making skills. The project helps to motivate individuals to change their life situations as they learn that all people can be productive and benefit the community.

SKILLS TRANSFER

What is learnt at school about the planning of gardens filters home to learners' families and the wider home contexts. Encouraging learners to become agents of change builds self-esteem and confidence, as well as reinforcing the learning through concrete results as they apply their knowledge outside the school. Involvement in community initiatives such as tree planting helps to create green places to live, no matter how economically disadvantaged the area.

BASIC BUSINESS SKILLS

AgriPlanner: Basic business skills that teaches learners how to market excess vegetables using principles that are applicable to any business. Learners do a cost analysis of the outlay involved in setting up a garden (fencing, tools etc.) and keep a running balance sheet. They also discuss together how to spend their harvest 'profits', learning business principles such as ploughing profits back into the business.

COMMUNITY RESOURCE

  • We also facilitate learning events in the garden environment which stimulate and consolidate theoretical concepts from the school curriculum together with an attitude of respect and love for animals, plants and the ecological web of life.
  • We aim to promote schools as a community resource where not only children but also the broader community may learn.
  • Learners are encouraged to replicate these skills in their homes and/or communities,
  • Finally, we work towards empowering learners, community members, the school governing bodies and teaching staff to know that they can bring about positive, developmental change which will in time benefit the surrounding community.

COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY

Learners identify an impoverished community member and develop and maintain a vegetable garden for him.

BENEFITING THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY

Learners excess harvest is donated to the local creche or given to a community member.

SUPPORTING THE SCHOOL FEEDING SCHEME