BOHLOKONG. – The Woolworths Trust, in partnership with Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA), recently visited the Impumelelo Primary School in Bohlokong near Bethlehem to help in the school’s garden as volunteers.
Approximately 20 staff members of the Woolworths store in Bethlehem exchanged their day-to-day business activities for work in the school’s permaculture garden.
Sarah Miller, ecopreneur for the FTFA in the Free State, said they had decided to visit the school to help them get their vegetable garden going.
She said the school had an established garden, but that this unfortunately had to be moved because of the extra classrooms that were going to be built.
“The store has provided funding and we have supplied the school with trees and garden tools. We helped them physically to plant the trees and to move vegetables from the old garden to the new one,” Miller said.
She said the FTFA and Impumelelo had a long history. She said they had been paying visits to the school since 1998.
In 2013 the FTFA and Woolworths Trust, as part of the trust’s tenth birthday, supported permaculture food gardens at ten EduPlant schools. The project created a platform for Woolworth’s employees to engage directly with the schools by volunteering to work in the gardens.
Due to the success of the project, 17 new schools were supported in 2014.
Petro Botha, customer service manager at Woolworths in the Dihlabeng Mall, said they wanted to be hands-on in making a difference at the schools.
“We don’t just want to donate money and it ends there. We want to be hands-on in the project. It is very nice to see the staff members working in the garden,” Botha said.
She said it was very important to teach young children where food came from.
“It is cost-saving if people can plant their own vegetables.
“I think it is very educational for the children – they could learn to be productive.”
She said working in the garden was an enriching feeling and added she had learned a lot, since she was not an experienced gardener.
“We are hoping the garden will grow from here. We will visit it from time to time to check on the progress. We are hoping to implement this initiative at other schools in future.”
Irene Tshabalala, principal of the school, said she was proud of Woolworths.
“This shows that they care for people. They want people to eat healthy food, that’s why they want us to plant vegetables,” Tshabalala said.