At False Bay TVET College, whose campuses are located in some of the most vulnerable communities of Cape Town, it has become clear that the student population is deeply affected by the increased levels of poverty and unemployment sparked by the pandemic.
As a caring institution, the College must be able to respond to the social and economic challenges faced by the vast majority of our student population. The problems of hunger and food insecurity particularly require an urgent response.
The College is developing a strategy to address these problems sustainably within a broader ecosystem and aims to support its students with nutritious meals sourced from food gardens established at the campuses.
In response to the dilemma, the False Bay TVET College, Khayelitsha and Fish Hoek Campus started their very first organic vegetable garden.
Breaking ground in hopes of creating a thriving, prosperous vegetable garden. Tending to the delicate seeds and seedling, the Student Representative Council members and campus staff got to work planting seedlings for a fresh herbs and vegetables.
A voluntary initiative, the garden will create awareness, develop skills, create community partnerships and ultimately contribute towards the provision of nutritional meals provided through the campus feeding scheme. Initially funded through staff and student donations, the surplus vegetables grown will be sold to the College Community to supplement the fresh organic vegetable garden upkeep.
Ms Karike Theunissen, ECD Moderator for False Bay TVET College and project co-ordinator of the Khayelitsha food garden said “this is a long-term project for the college. We would like our students to volunteer and to adopt a patch of garden which they would be responsible for maintaining. The skills exchange and student involvement will help us develop our vegetable garden and hopefully inspire our students and staff to start their own food gardens at home, even if just in an old tyre”.
False Bay TVET College offers comprehensive student support and development services at all its campuses, which include career guidance, financial aid, personal counselling and academic support. In response, these urgent social and economic challenges faced by a vast majority of the student population, the College is undergoing a process of developing a sustainable strategy to address this need.
The adoption of a community garden project at False Bay TVET College will directly contribute to students’ overall well-being, improved nutrition and health, which will conceivably result in higher programme completion/ retention rates and improved social and emotional behaviour. These outcomes therefore align well with the College’s strategic focus areas of decreasing the number of student dropouts and strengthening the retention rate of students, as well as improving the throughput rates.
The college community is looking forward to the inaugural harvest in about 3 to 4 months of cauliflower, tomatoes, beetroot, cabbage, spinach, spring-onion, carrots and onions.