The Infinity Green Legacy Garden project, an initiative aimed at tackling food security and unemployment was launched on Wednesday, 24 November 2021 by private higher education institution, MANCOSA.
The project, in partnership with Fundisa Abantu, a non-governmental organisation, and Greenvale Primary School was launched at the school in Chatsworth, south of Durban.
In August 2020, MANCOSA won the first South African Virtual Design Thinking Challenge which prepares students to develop solutions for local challenges. This initiative was led by five females and four males who comprised a team of students, academics and staff from the institution.
Following research into the challenges faced by the communities in South Africa amidst COVID-19, the MANCOSA team proposed a solution of a sustainable feeding programme whereby educators, mothers and pupils would create urban agricultural initiatives on school premises to provide nutritious meals. Surplus produce may be sold, traded or bartered.
Sooraya Ebrahim, an academic at MANCOSA who spearheads the Infinity Green Legacy Garden project, said the MANCOSA team was tasked to follow through with their “Victory with a Purpose” solution of creating a sustainable vegetable garden within an underprivileged school to benefit the students, educators and the community in learning and providing nutritious meals to all.
“The project aims to support regular nutrition for school children, create job opportunities by mobilising parents and mothers who are able to generate an income through the sale of vegetables, support a sustainable future with basic entrepreneurial and business skills that will last a lifetime and improve the overall well-being of children through garden therapy which helps reduce anxiety and depression, improves attention and promote feelings of autonomy, dignity and self-pride,” she said.
Viloshnee Pillay, Director of Fundisa Abantu, said the food garden will be used for the school meals programme and to help engage school learners in entrepreneurship skills and financial literacy.
“As a result, this food garden will encourage and empower young people in skills development and social upliftment in the community. Students will learn about agriculture and how to have a positive impact on healthy living. This is a promising approach to improving household food security and well-being.
“Fundisa Abantu is sincerely thankful and appreciative to MANCOSA for giving us the opportunity to develop this self-sustainable project which will be beneficial to the community,” she said.
Greenvale Primary School Principal, Anil Singh, said this project promotes growth and development of the school and community. The objective is to inculcate an interest or passion in agriculture, in the youth and the community.
“There is widespread unemployment and poverty in the community. With this project the school will benefit from proceeds of the sale of fresh produce while learners and the community will develop an interest in home gardening and entrepreneurship.
“We are thankful to MANCOSA as this project will create a sustainable food garden for the community,” he said.
The MANCOSA team plans to empower other underprivileged schools and communities to create their own gardens in their backyards to ensure no child goes hungry.
MANCOSA plans to expand this project to an underprivileged school in Johannesburg and to the wider South African community next year.