Creative thinking and the incorporation of circular economy principles form the basis of the Elufefeni Primary School (Eastern Cape) food garden. These learners and educators have succeeded in creating not only a functional, high-yield food garden but also one that is interesting to look at and learn in. Materials such as colourful tyres, bricks, ecobricks (bottles stuffed with single-use plastics) and rocks line these garden beds, protecting crops from flood damage and maximising the use of space. Currently, the garden contains a variety of produce such as spinach and cabbage. The learners have also been taught how to pickle vegetables.
Mfesane Senior Secondary School in the Motherwell township of the Eastern Cape stands out as an EduPlant finalist for their exceptional use of spiral beds that incorporate a variety of herbs, leafy greens, and pollinator-attracting flowers. The use of good composting, mulching and worm leachate has increased the school’s crop variety and yields. The learners have proudly taken part in the design and implementation of their garden since its inception and continue to nurture it through the establishment of an extracurricular garden club.
Another example of the creative use of various recycled and upcycled materials is Sidakeni Primary School (Eastern Cape). The school has made use of various plastic bottles, planting containers, and bricks to support the soil of their raised beds. The school makes use of guilds to increase biodiversity, herb spirals and incorporates foot paths for easy access to water sources, gates and garden beds. Some of the produce harvested from this garden has been sold to purchase additional resources as well as trees for the school garden.
The Ecopreneur responsible for mentoring St Colmcille Secondary School (Eastern Cape) noted that it was clear that the learners are very engaged in this food garden and participate in a number of practical activities. The school garden makes use of diversion drains and mulching for flood and drought proofing and has even incorporated a bug hotel as a natural pest management mechanism. The school indicated that they had to plan and carefully map out the garden before they began, to take into account heavy rains and very wet, waterlogged soils. The results were excellent, with the school garden displaying healthy soils and crops.