Irista Primary School garden produce a bountiful harvest
19 March 2021
A gardening project at Irista Primary School in Kuils River is flourishing after less than four months.
The school serves the areas of Sarepta, Kalkfontein and Vrygrond and has a learner enrolment of 1164 learners. Most of the parents are unemployed and the school depends heavily on donations as its main source of income.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the devastating effect it had on the economy, the school saw a drastic increase in the number of learners that are dependent on the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).
“We needed to supplement our nutrition programme to keep up with the demand. When we were selected to start our own vegetable garden in October 2020, we saw this as the answer to the dilemma we faced. It also presented a long-term sustainable solution if we did things right,” said Elizabeth Nimrod, NSNP and Gardening Co-ordinator at Irista Primary.
Two gardeners immediately set to work on an area of about half a hectare in size. The school governing made funds available to put up a fence to demarcate the garden and protect it from the elements.
A partnership with Agri Kaap Kraaifontein provided an extra boost to the project. “They gave us all our material for the fence at cost price, then they supplied us with all our seedling in conjunction with their supplier Starke Ayres, as well as the compost needed to fertilise the land,” Nimrod explained.
“Now almost four months down the line we are literally reaping the benefit of our labour. We harvested the most beautiful tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, green beans, green peppers, mielies and even cabbage. We now have the option of amending our menu by making cabbage bredie, vegetable stew and selling our produce to buy other ingredients to supplement our nutrition program.”
“Thank you for giving us this opportunity to empower and enrich our community through a sustainable and tangible gardening project.”