Dr Estherna Pretorius invited grade 10/11 Life Sciences students from the UJ Metropolitan Academy to participate in a vegetable garden project at their school as part of the Botany and Plant Biotechnology department’s community outreach.
This project is aligned with the National Sustainable Development Goals in that it aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for learners and educators, with a specific focus on the setup and cultivation 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.
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Sunbeam Playgroup (nursery school) children ages 4-5 were invited to participate in the creation of a hanging garden for their schoolyard in a similar initiative. The children planted various types of lettuce in this project. Dr Pretorius, Mr Thinus Fourie, and life sciences students from the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology provided planting materials and helped the children get their garden started.
The vegetables were grown in upcycled 2 L bottles that were transformed into a three-layer hanging container that served as a vegetable garden.
The hanging garden Mr Stanley Khumalo assisted in the construction of these hanging gardens.
The initiative is a fantastic learning opportunity for students to see how simple and cost-effective it is to grow vegetables in small spaces (home gardens, balcony of flats or other units).
This link will take you to a recording of the events.
Dr Estherna Pretorius contributed to this article.