Shea O’Connor school triumphs in national food gardening competition

Shea O’Connor Combined School in Nottingham Road has been awarded the overall Intermediate category winner in the 2018 National EduPlant Competition.

A team of an educator and three pupils from the KZN Midlands school were among 66 finalist schools from across the country who came together in the Magaliesberg to compete in the biennial finals event where more than R430 000 worth of prizes were distributed.

In the picture above: Shea O’Connor Combined School’s winning team: left to right, Ayanda Shabalala, Iolani Mtombela, Mzwakazi Mabaso and Simangaliso Dhlamini.

And two other schools from the Midlands excelled, receiving their own awards.

Mazwendoda Secondary School in Nzinga, Impendle area was awarded the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial winner in the competition, while Nobanda Primary School in Sweetwaters was awarded the overall Advanced category winner.

Mazwendoda Secondary School’s team: left to right, Lindisiwe Hlongwane, Mbongeni Mnikathi, Amanda Nhlabathi and Thabo Tseledi.

EduPlant, the country’s leading food gardening programme initiated and managed by Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) has been sponsored by the Woolworths Trust over the past 14 years.

Brightest lights

“Congratulations to Shea O’Connor Combined School. We are very proud of the 2018 EduPlant winners and celebrate all the finalist schools. These schools represented the brightest lights out of 326 schools from all provinces who made substantial achievements in increasing their community’s access to nutritious food,” said Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths Director of Corporate Affairs.

“With World Food Day, celebrated on the 16th of October just up ahead, it is wonderful to see South African school communities taking action towards #zerohunger in South Africa.”

The 2018 World Food Day theme is “Our actions are our future” and the FAO (The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations) is promoting a #zerohunger world by 2030. Fourteen million people are at risk of hunger every day in South Africa, thus local food gardening initiatives such as EduPlant play an important role in increasing vulnerable people’s access to sustainably produced, nutritious foods.

Nobanda Primary School School’s winning team receiving their award: left to right, Robyn Hill (FTFA Programme Manager), Katy Hayes (Woolworths CSI Specialist), Aphelele Ndlovu, Asandile Sotshangane, Futhi Shezi, Lusansa Ndlovu and Nomzamo Mbatha (MC for the awards event).

Sustainable farming

“Over the past 24 years, EduPlant has gone from strength to strength as a champion of sustainable farming through school-based and cluster workshops,” said Robyn Hills, FTFA Programme Manager.

“Alongside our long-term partner, The Woolworths Trust, awareness and knowledge of nutrition and eco-friendly permaculture farming is built in communities where hunger is an issue for millions of South Africans. As we have seen at the 2018 EduPlant Finals, these schools’ food gardens supplement feeding schemes while educating learners about climate change, community resilience, healthy environments and natural vegetable production. EduPlant schools are taking effective action for a #zerohunger future.”

E-learning adds up for Shea O’Connor school

The EduPlant Finals event took place at Konka in Magaliesberg, an exciting school-friendly venue with excellent facilities for children. Activities included bush walking, an evening bonfire culture experience, drumming T-shirt art, as well as a variety of interactive, nature-friendly workshops.