“If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.” – Robert Brault
It was such a honor to work with this school, the teachers and children and offer a school gardening demo and class as well as gift the school with mulch, over 500 seedlings and seeds for sparking a permaculture inspired garden.
Because we are working in rural South Africa there are often roaming animals (goats, cows, pigs chickens) and we take care to find and connect with schools that are well fenced and because we had a theft situations at a school recently (seedlings stolen from the ground) we now spend significant time and have many conversations to seek schools who have some kind of security in addition to fencing.
It's not alwasy possible, but this school we discovered had 24 hours security guards on rotation which made working with this school a no-brainer, especially since it is well-fenced and as a bonus one of the security personel is an avid gardener!
On the school installation and demo day, we worked with forty grade 3 students (approximately 10 years old) who were not writing exams like the older children. And did we have FUN! They were curious, attentive and excited to get involed. A few were initially reluctant to touch the mulch and decomposing manure, but they got into it, and some even facing their fears when we came across a red wriggler worm, even giggling and touching it. (You can see our video on Instagram of this).
We demonstrated how and why to make beds with mulch, and that digging and even clearing grass or weeds isn't really necessary when using mulch and building soil is using what we have in our environment. Then the kids had fun planting a variety of seedlings and scattering cover crops and a garden starter mix of seeds.
Two teachers, the groundsman and the gardening-loving security man were all involved, and they were also gifted a few seedlings to take home or to plant where they wanted at the school.
We also provided a printed copy of the permaculture guidelines booklet to all the kids and all the adults involved. We trust that this will be a resource they can refer to over and over again, and hopefully will inspire all involved to explore with these permaculture principles at home.
We are really look forward to returning to the school to see their progress and join them in January 2023 for harvesting, seed savings and chop and drop to support their soil building and regeneration.