Spinach, beetroot and cabbage are not always guaranteed to get children smiling, but excited preschoolers in Hangberg, Hout Bay harvested their first crop of vegetables last week to great delight.
“It is beautiful,” said five-year-old, Layla Moses as she pulled
a spinach plant from the ground. Her class planted carrots this month and she can’t wait for them to be ready for the pot.
Cape Town’s oldest food garden company, Urban Harvest, spent the better part of a year designing and installing a food garden at Hangberg Pre-primary School.
The project, sponsored by the Real Thing Supplements, will provide fresh produce for the school’s canteen year round.
Everything used in the garden is organic, from compost right down to a special eco-friendly treatment used for timber planters sponsored by the Pole Yard company.
Not only will the garden feed hungry little bellies each day but also provide children affected by social problems in their community with a much-needed therapeutic space.
Recently, protests over fishing quotas again plunged the neighbourhood into chaos and the community has been hard hit by unemployment and drug abuse. All of this has taken its toll on the children.
“A lot of our children are born into substance abuse. We have decided that, if we have kids with issues, the garden will be their chill-out space. They can walk around there, plant, spend an hour in the garden, weed or do whatever,” said the school’s acting headmistress, principal, Tania Gray.
Urban Harvest havehas created more than 300 organic food gardens across Cape Town, but this is the first one inspired by Tibetan Buddhist thangka mandala designs.
Built overlooking the Hout Bay harbour, the garden is arranged around a central seating area, and aims to inspire a meditative feeling in those who spend time in it.
Despite Cape Town’s ongoing drought, the garden will be able to keep going thanks to a state-of-the-art natural greywater system. The water generated by hundreds of children washing their hands at school wash-stations runs through a “wetland” system of water reeds where it is cleaned for reuse.