National School Nutrition Programme garden competition
24 March 2023
Western Cape schools with flourishing gardens recently reaped the fruits of their labour in the form of awards.
A total of 28 schools were finalists in three categories of the provincial National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) competition.
Participants in Category A were schools with food production projects that are semi-commercial to commercial, schools in Category B have standard sized food production projects, and Category C is reserved for schools in areas that have less precipitation and shallow soils, such as the Central Karoo as well as the northern parts of the West Coast.
De Rust Futura Academy in Grabouw and Kylemore Secondary School in Stellenbosch were the joint winners in Category A. Second place went to Jakes Gerwel Technical School in Bonnievale and Calitzdorp Secondary School claimed the third prize.
Factreton Primary School in Kensington won in Category B with Oker Primary School in Albertinia in second place followed by Blackheath Primary School in third.
Steilhoogte Primary School in Vredendal received first prize in Category C. Excelsior Primary School in Calitzdorp won second position and third place went to Koekenaap Primary School in Lutzville.
De Rust Futura Academy impressed the judges with their large-scale production of green beans, pumpkins, herbs and other vegetables. The school also owns a 25 stud Hereford herd complete with handling facilities.
Kylemore Secondary School credits the acting principal, Tertia Jefthas, the Agricultural Sciences teacher, Mr Vermeulen, and his learners, the project manager, Mr Pienaar, and two gardeners for the success of their garden.
The school grows tomatoes, spinach and green peppers in three tunnels and an open garden dedicated for commercial production. The produce in another section of the garden is used to support the NSNP kitchen. They also have quince and pomegranate trees, but not on a large scale.
Factreton Primary School, under the leadership of Principal Paul McAvoy, and assisted by two general workers, specialises in intensive food production as they have limited space available. The school produces a variety of vegetables using aquaponics, hydroponics, intercropping, hanging gardens and containers. They also specialise in recycling and improvising to save on buying expensive equipment.
A classroom at the school is dedicated as a laboratory where propagation and experiments are done.
Manus Spamer, the principal of Steilhoogte Primary School, increased the size of the garden and the school produce vegetables and herbs. They also preserve some of the produce. The school has a small nursery and help other schools with seedlings.
Steihoogte Primary School has livestock including pigs, turkey, ducks and chicken. There are also a few sheep, goats and rabbits. Learners are exposed to aquaponics to promote the love of nature and environment.