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Food gardens at Cape Town area schools grow food and teach farming skills

The SEED Organic Classroom Programme at 21 South African schools teaches sustainable farming techniques while feeding students.

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“There’s a broader context to the SEED program,” Kruger says. “We enrich curriculum and are developing greener environments in schools, and looking at good nutrition. But at the same time we’re also fleshing out and setting up a process for matric [accredited] diplomas in Applied Permaculture Training so that we can set up a career path.”

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Beyond addressing immediate needs, the organization hopes its programs will create professional careers and long-term economic opportunities for young people in permaculture farming.

By supporting a tradition of environmental sustainability in the Cape Flats, Kruger believes the community will take on even larger challenges.

“As our program develops we can start introducing green technology, natural building, and all the other facets of permaculture,” she says.

According to the organization’s director, the school garden project is already engaging the community in broader social and environmental efforts.

“Other benefits of the program are climate mitigation, biodiversity, and habitat renewal. [Also] community self-reliance, community building, and job creation,” Seed Director Brown says.

SEED is also working with schools in the South African provinces of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng, and hopes to create a nationwide network of school food gardens. The organization aims to cultivate leaders among the students and teachers where they establish food gardens. After three years in each school, SEED turns over the operation of the Organic Classroom Programme to the school and the community.

This article originally appeared on Nourishing the Planet, a blog published by the Worldwatch Institute.

Matt Styslinger is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

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