As part of the Botany and Plant Biotechnology departmental community outreach, Dr Estherna Pretorius invited the grade 10/11 Life Sciences learners of the UJ Metropolitan Academy to participate in a vegetable garden project at their school.
This project is aligned with the National sustainable development goals in that the project aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for the learners and educators specifically focused on the setup and growing of seasonal vegetables. In addition, the project aims to work towards the goal of achieving food security and improved nutrition, by teaching the learners and educators about growing vegetables.
In a similar initiative, the Sunbeam Playgroup (nursery school) children, ages 4-5, were invited to participate in creating a hanging garden for their schoolyard. In this project, the children planted different types of lettuce. Dr Pretorius, Mr Thinus Fourie and life sciences students of the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology provided planting materials and assisted children in starting their garden.
The vegetables were grown in upcycled 2 L bottles that were converted into a three-layer hanging container making up a vegetable-hanging garden. These hanging gardens were constructed with the help of Mr Stanley Khumalo.
The initiative is a wonderful learning opportunity to show learners how easy and cost-effective it is to grow vegetables in small areas (home gardens, balcony of flats or other units).
A recording of the events is available through this link.
Article by Dr Estherna Pretorius.