eThekwini’s Imagine Durban launches food garden booklet for schools

Submitted by: Jonathan Ramayia, Tuesday, November 20, 2012

<p>The Imagine Durban garden booklet promotes transfer of food gardening skills and the inclusion of learners, staff and caretakers to ensure food gardens are maintained (Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_13424789_closeup-of-young-boy-in-garden-holding-up-a-bunch-of-mustard-greens.html'>forestpath / 123RF Stock Photo</a>).</p>

The Imagine Durban garden booklet promotes transfer of food gardening skills and the inclusion of learners, staff and caretakers to ensure food gardens are maintained (Image credit: forestpath / 123RF Stock Photo).

Imagine Durban, the long term planning department of the eThekwini Municipality has launched a booklet which aims to assist schools with establishing food gardens. The booklet which is titled Success factors for starting and maintaining a school food garden was written after Imagine Durban embarked on a school gardens programme in Durban and learnt from the various schools in which school gardens were established. Although climatic conditions experienced across South Africa vary from region to region, much of the booklet covers the fundamentals of what a makes a successful garden and may be applied to schools across the country.

"Food gardens are important because they can provide food for students but are also a great opportunity to transfer important skills to both teachers and learners. We are hoping that the lessons we have learnt from our various school gardens will be useful for other schools across the country and not just in Durban", said Bongumusa Zondo, Senior Manager at Imagine Durban.

The booklet defines ‘eight success factors’ for school gardens but is applicable to food gardens in general.  Apart from these success factors, the booklet also highlights the challenges experienced in establishing a food garden particularly for schools. One of the main challenges addressed in the booklet is how to ensure the garden is tended to when teachers and students are away between school terms.

Some of the success factors include:

  • Ensuring support from pupils, teachers, care takers, and school principals in particular
  • Defining roles and responsibilities and ensuring that ‘gardening time slots’ are allocated
  • Ensuring that someone tends to the garden between terms
  • Providing on-going mentorship and capacity building so there are several people who are capable of project managing the gardens
  • Corporate sponsorships help but some sponsors are only able to do so for a limited period. Schools should continually work on various funding options
  • Information sharing between other schools with gardens is important and should be facilitated as much as possible. Gardening techniques should also be learnt from food garden experts.

Success factors for starting and maintaining a school food garden is available for download on the Imagine Durban blog.

For a hard copy of the booklet, please contact: Hyacinthia Naidoo on 031 3114272.

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Jonathan Ramayia