“We express our gratitude for the garden. It is very useful for the children because they eat healthy food that comes from the ground”

Principal, Myanduya Creche, Mseleni

Food gardens

We support ECD centres to:

Develop new or extend existing ECD food gardens and plant fruit trees to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for children’s daily meals.

Adopt sustainable, organic methods such as building and protecting the soil, water harvesting, crop rotation and companion planting.

Include children in caring for their ECD garden and harvesting vegetables and fruit to use in the ECD kitchen.

Link children’s daily and annual learning programmes with activities outdoors and in the vegetable garden, to strengthen their connection with and learn from nature.

Through our partnership with Biowatch SA we are promoting agroecological practices in ECD gardens. This year 8 ECD gardeners attended week-long training in Mtubatuba to gain hands-on experience of methods they can use to meet the environmental challenges they face when growing vegetables in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Many of the practices that Biowatch SA promotes are drawn from local knowledge that elders relied on in the past and that are still relevant today. Avoiding the use of chemicals and pesticides means that ECD gardens produce healthy, fresh vegetables and fruit to improve children’s nutrition.

Our Funda Engadini programme (Learning in the garden) has been a huge success, with children learning outdoors and building a strong relationship with the natural world.

We train facilitators each month for 8 months and provide resources to implement what they learn with young children. There is a different theme each month and activities include numeracy, early literacy, science, creative arts and isimangaliso walks to experience the wonders of nature. We include activities for recycling/reusing/ repurposing in each session. Children learn using natural resources and have many opportunities to participate in the organic food gardens at their ECD centre – planting, watering, mulching, making compost and harvesting crops for their meals.

Our food garden facilitator, Lwazi Thwala, has an experimental garden at his homestead near Mbazwana, where he tests new organic methods so that he is well equipped to mentor ECD gardeners. His garden is also a demonstration site to show gardeners how to grow healthy crops in very similar conditions to their own in the area.