School garden survives severe drought

This picture was taken of the garden when it started in 2010.

A Scottsdene school’s organic veggie garden is surviving the water crisis and continues to feed hundreds of children. Cavalleria Primary, a no-fee school, has been adopted by non-profits Urban Harvest and One Love Learning.

Urban Harvest has 338 projects running across Cape Town and refers to Cavalleria Primary as the most successful.

Its founder Ben Getz, said they had continued working with the school, providing it with support and training, since the garden started in 2010.

“Outstanding leadership at the school, coupled with a fruitful partnerships, such as One Love Learning Foundation and Urban Harvest, are what has made the school the most successful,” he said.

Urban Harvest plans to install a rain-harvest system on the school’s rooftop to provide approximately 1000 litres of water a day, when it rains.

“This water will be used to water the vegetable garden and provide drinking water to the school,” said Mr Getz.

The school has installed a borehole, which, along with grey water, and rain harvesting have helped to keep the garden healthy.John Booysen, the school’s gardener, enjoys working with the pupils, some of whom help out in the garden after school

“Grades R to 7 join me in the garden when they are available. We teach them how to make their own compost using chicken manure and straw. The straw is used to prepare the bed for roots. Once we put down the manure, holes are poked in the straw for when the sun is too hot.” In an interview with Cape Times, principal Hershele Carolisen said the garden had contributed to the improved health of the pupils and the results could be seen in their academic improvement.

He said the garden had doubled in size since 2010.

“We supplement the education department’s feeding scheme that can only accommodate 330 pupils and, with the food garden, produce enough to feed 700 pupils,” he said.