By Nicole Ras
In an era when the health of people and our planet demands immediate attention, the EduPlant Programme emerges as a beacon of hope, offering a fresh perspective on education that intertwines learning with sustainability. After 28 years, and the creation of thousands of school food gardens across the country, the EduPlant Programme, in partnership with Tiger Brands, continues to transform the way we educate our future generations and nurture a deep-rooted commitment to environmental stewardship.
Every two years the EduPlant Programme works with 300 under-resourced schools in South Africa. The programme, through the school curriculum and the commitment of learners and educators, develops and grows school food gardens to add nutritional value to every meal served under the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP).
In a celebration of the dedication and innovation in each EduPlant school garden, Food & Trees for Africa’s (FTFA) is excited to announce the upcoming EduPlant Finals Competition. This competition is set to recognize and reward the best efforts in nurturing school permaculture food gardens within the EduPlant community. As we witness the remarkable transformation of schools into vibrant hubs of sustainable agriculture and ecological awareness, the EduPlant Finals Competition will shine a spotlight on those who have excelled in integrating permaculture principles into their educational journey.
This event not only showcases the incredible achievements of students, educators, and communities but also inspires others to embark on their own journeys towards greener, more sustainable futures. EduPlant finalists will be announced by FTFA on 14 September 2023. The winners will be determined by an expert panels of judges, and announced on 31 October 2023.
In announcing the upcoming Finals Competition, Bharathi Tugh, EduPlant Manager and Education Associate said, “During the final chapter of the EduPlant 2022/2023 programme, it is time to recognise and honour our Earth Champions. The holistic model of the EduPlant programme has transformed many school landscapes into sustainable food-producing environments. We salute the influencers of change, viz. the committed teachers who played a fundamental role in instilling food security practices, enhanced nutrition, climate literacy and earth care attitudes and values in the learners.”
The EduPlant Programme, is an initiative driven by a consortium of visionary educators, environmentalists, and community leaders. It seeks to address the pressing global challenges of climate change, food sovereignty, and ecological conservation. By placing sustainability at the heart of its educational approach, the programme aims to empower students and communities to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition.
Nosiphelo Nikani, EduPlant Coordinator said, "We believe that education is the most powerful tool we have to create a more sustainable and equitable world. The EduPlant Programme is not just about teaching; it's about inspiring a new generation of environmental stewards who will shape a brighter future for all of us."
Key highlights of the EduPlant Programme:
●Hands-On Learning: The programme offers an experiential learning journey that takes students out of the traditional classroom setting and into the heart of nature. Through gardening and agricultural activities, students gain a profound understanding of the delicate balance between humans and the environment.
● Environmental Literacy: EduPlant equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to understand complex environmental issues, encouraging them to think critically and act responsibly.
●Community Engagement: Beyond the classroom, EduPlant fosters a sense of community by involving parents, local businesses, and organizations. Together, they work towards creating sustainable food systems and green spaces in schools and communities.
●Curriculum Integration: The EduPlant Programme seamlessly integrates sustainability principles into existing curricula, enhancing the quality and relevance of education.
●Universal Reach: With its flexible framework, EduPlant can be adapted to different social and cultural contexts and geographical locations, making it a versatile solution to global challenges.
About Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA)
FTFA is a Non-Profit Social Enterprise working towards a healthier, food secure future through developing programmes and initiatives that address climate change and greening, promote natural resource management, organic farming and food security, and sustainable enterprise development. Through FTFA, over 4.7 million trees have been planted, thousands of schools and community gardens have been developed and hundreds of market gardens and farms are supported. FTFA has been in South African Social Development for more than 32 years and is a pioneer within climate change response and food security.