Green fingered learners from Curro Delft in the Western Cape were ecstatic to see Dr Ivan Meyer, Provincial Minister of Agriculture join them for a tree planting ceremony last week.

The ceremony was to officially launch a vegetable garden, an idea that was spearheaded by two grade 8 learners, Yola Mgogwana and Anelisa Mgedezi. They came up with the idea late last year to help educate their peers about the significance of food sovereignty and encourage others to make informed decisions about nutrition.

Curro Delft is in the heart of a rapidly expanding community on the outskirts of Cape Town, and many of the learners hail from underprivileged backgrounds. Although the school, which falls under Curro’s uber successful DigiEd model, provides learners with their own dedicated device and ensures teaching is fresh yet flexible with videos and e-learning in class, the poverty cycle remains a prevalent concern for all.

From left to right, Anelisa Mgedezi, René Nel, Dr Ivan Meyer and Johan van der Merwe.

As a result, some of the vegetables from the school’s garden will be used to provide delicious meals for needy learners, whilst the remainder will be sold at a fair price to the wider community, fostering an element of entrepreneurship amongst the learners.

“I am incredibly proud to see this fantastic idea come to fruition. At Curro, we place great emphasis on moulding our learners into the future leaders of tomorrow and so it is very refreshing to see our learners think outside the box and find innovative ways of helping their local community.  By demonstrating how easy it is to start a vegetable garden and the benefits of having one, the girls and I hope that others will be inspired to perhaps try to replicate the same at home. This way, the wider Delft community can benefit from a supply of fresh, healthy, and organic vegetables that costs much less,” explains Johan van der Merwe, Head of High School at Curro Delft.

The school received a generous donation of trees from Mrs Rene Nel of Vroue Landbou Vereeniging. Along with renowned farmer, Rossouw Cillie, the duo helped contact vegetable farmers operating nearby and very soon their efforts attracted the attention of the minister.

Anelisa Mgedezi and Dr Meyer.

The trees at the ceremony were planted for several reasons. As well as providing learners with valuable shade in the hot summer months, they also beautify the campus landscape and highlight the important role they play in the sustainability of our environment.

“Trees remind us that, just like the learners at Curro Delft, everyone is unique and has inherent values. When we are rooted in our integrity, we are resilient against any storm and can grow into our wildest dreams,” concludes Van der Merwe.