Breaking ground in hopes of creating a thriving, prosperous vegetable garden, the False Bay TVET College, Khayelitsha Campus, started their very first organic vegetable garden.
Tending to the delicate seeds and seedlings, the Student Representative Council members and campus staff got to work early Thursday morning to clear the demarcated space and on Friday, the first seedlings were planted.
Through a consultation process with Abalimi Bezekhaya, a non-profit micro-farming organisation, the Campus identified the best plot and the most suitable vegetables to grow, taking the sandy soil and other environmental factors into consideration.
The College, especially due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, realized that its student population are deeply affected by the increased levels of poverty and hunger.
A voluntary initiative, the food garden will contribute towards the provision of nutritional meals provided through the campus feeding scheme. It will create opportunities for students and staff to learn and develop food gardening skills, create community partnerships and ultimately encourage self-sustainability.
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.
Phase one completed, 7mX7m garden, a total area of 43mX16m has been earmarked for further development.
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 Khayelitsha Campus community is looking forward to the inaugural harvest in about 3 to 4 months of cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, spring-onion, carrots and onions.