23 March 2022 – The EduPlant Programme is South Africa’s longest-running and most impactful school greening and gardening programme. Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) has run the programme since 1994, bringing food gardens to thousands of South African schools and mentoring school greening, environmental education, and social development.
This year a new two-year cycle begins, supported by the continuation of a five-year Corporate Social Investment (CSI) partnership between FTFA and Tiger Brands. The partnership has already touched the lives of thousands of schoolchildren and hundreds of communities. Over the course of 2022 and 2023, the EduPlant Programme will create fully-fledged, flourishing permaculture school food gardens in a further 300 schools nationwide.
“The number of schools producing good quality food increases annually, and the feedback on skills transfer within the school community is heartening,” says Bharathi Tugh, EduPlant Manager.
Providing Vital Nutrition and Integrated Learning
More than a quarter of school-aged children in South Africa are stunted and malnourished. By improving school food gardens, the EduPlant Programme provides vital nutrition to supplement meals provided by the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) feeding scheme.
“The EduPlant Programme is a well-coordinated, multi-component intervention which has resulted in food-rich schools across the country. The programme has impacted on learner’s knowledge, behaviours related to environmental care, the use of appropriate and sustainable methodologies to grow food, and lifestyle changes. It also adds to the income stream at many schools,” explains Tugh.
In February, FTFA evaluated over 330 schools in more than 35 strategic areas across all nine provinces, to finalise candidates for this two-year cycle of the programme.
“As the country’s largest food manufacturer, food security is an important social priority for Tiger Brands,” adds Preeya Naidu, B-BBEE and Social Transformation Manager, Tiger Brands.
“Our focus is on building, nourishing, and nurturing resilient, food secure and healthy communities across South Africa in a sustainable manner. Our partnership with EduPlant helps us deliver on this objective effectively. We are proud of our association with a like-minded organisation that supports the interests of the most vulnerable members of society and prioritises their needs in a self-sufficient manner,” Naidu continues.
Free Workshops Empowering Communities
The programme also builds knowledge and skills through cluster workshops, which will be launched in the second term of this school year.
These free workshops are open to educators, learners, and community members alike. Seven modules cover a wide variety of topics, including:
- Revitalising soil and starting a permaculture garden
- Being water-wise and making the most of natural resources
- Working with nature, growing healthy plants, and creating abundance in the garden
- Propagating and growing more trees and other plants for free
- Better health through food choices and nutrition
- Simple cropping (i.e. planting the ‘three sisters’ which are maize, beans, and pumpkins)
Following the cluster workshops, schools will be selected for the prestigious EduPlant competition, based on food garden quality and the school’s overall enthusiasm and commitment to the EduPlant Programme.
About the EduPlant Programme
The EduPlant School Gardening and Nutrition Programme, supported by Tiger Brands and implemented by Food & Trees for Africa, focuses on schools, learners, and their surrounding communities. It develops school-linked food security clusters in under-resourced communities and townships. EduPlant also promotes sustainable practices, environmental ethics, and whole systems thinking, creating strong social and food security community networks. Started in 1994, the EduPlant Programme has grown into the largest and most impactful programme of its kind in Southern Africa.
About Food & Trees for Africa
Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is a leading Section 21 Non-Profit Social Enterprise that addresses food security and environmental sustainability. Having been in South African social development for 27 years, FTFA highlights education and skills training integrated with sensitive mentorship and phased support. FTFA initiatives address climate change and greening, as well as promoting natural resource management, organic farming and food security, and sustainable enterprise development. The organisation understands exactly what it takes to achieve real, long-term sustainability and make a positive difference in the lives of all South Africans.
About Tiger Brands
Tiger Brands is one of Africa’s largest listed manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods. The company’s core business is manufacturing, marketing, and distributing everyday branded food to middle-income consumers. Tiger Brands also distributes leading brands in the home, personal care, and baby sectors.