Introducing food gardens and sustainable living to ECD centres
We went to Little Bright Stars Educare and Kamva Educare for a site visit on Monday 26 September. The principals, Grace and Noloxolo, had been two of four ECD centre principals who participated in an ELRU and Department of Social Development project that included sustainable living and food gardens as part of an integrated programme.
Little Bright Stars Educare rents two classrooms from a local primary school in Heideveld. They face numerous challenges of theft and vandalism and have had to start from scratch numerous times.
Since the premises were rented, it was decided to use containers to plant vegetables, herbs and soil improver plants. Mulching and composting formed part of the gardening project.
Grace involved parents, her preschool learners and teachers in collecting and painting containers in preparation for planting their gardens.
As part of their training the principals were taught the principles of permaculture and encouraged to plan their indoor and outdoor gardens.
Nurjaha, the ELRU permaculture advocate, gave Grace the reasons why some of the plants had flourished more than others and how to get the most out of the garden.
Next we visited Kamva Educare in Philippi.
The principal of Kamva Educare, Noloxolo and her assistant Thabile, were surprised when Nurjaha showed them that some of their vegetables were ready to be harvested.
They dug up some radishes, washed and tasted them for the first time.
Nurjaha showed them how the permaculture principle of intensifying and multi-functioning worked – the space previously used for growing radishes was now clear to accommodate carrots.
Upon further checking, they found that a huge turnip was also ready to be harvested from the vegetable patch.
Noloxolo described how parents had become involved in conversation around the vegetable patch and how she was planning to share the knowledge she had gained from her training.
Nurjaha recommended that Noloxolo and the preschool teachers use her garden as a teaching tool in the classroom.