Green gardens for life

10 September 2018 | Agriculture

About 330 000 learners are fed through the national school feeding progam while school gardens serve as a supplement to instil the culture of gardening as a means to self-sustenance, said education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa.

Hanse-Himarwa, a backyard garden proponent, has been a staunch advocate for community gardening since her tenure as the Hardap governor where she pushed for the establishment of backyard gardens at Mariental as a pilot project.

She has brought this same vigour to the education ministry, which she now runs, and has repeatedly called on schools to grow their own produce that can supply their hostels as well.

“We want to instil the culture of producing your own food so that they become people that eat what they produce. It ensures food security and also boosts the agriculture subject class in schools,” she said

Income generator

She added that these school gardens can be used to generate an income for school kitties as well as inspire children to take this idea to their own homes.

Meanwhile, governor of Kunene Marius Sheya says his office is in the process of aggressively starting two main community gardens in his region.

“One is envisaged for Opuwo rural and the other in Outjo constituency. First we want to see how we can go about it. We will also work with the ministry of youth to see if we can turn it into youth enterprises. We have regional councillors and local authority leaders involved who will avail the land,” he said.

However, he highlighted that the biggest challenge of community gardens is that they often fall apart because of a lack of proper leadership structures that can ensure sustainability.

“We are drafting a management charter of how it is going to work and to put up necessary structures to make it sustainable,” Sheya said.

Last week Nampa reported that Otjiwarongo's Omake Charity Organisation founder Ali Titus Shikongo announced their intention to start a fruit and vegetable garden to provide poor residents an opportunity to earn a decent living.

Shikongo, who is a local businessman, said the garden will be on a privately owned two-hectare tract of land just outside Otjiwarongo.

“On that garden we will grow different vegetables and fruits using unemployed young people around town to work on it, and produce food for consumption and for sale,” he said.

Apart from the garden, the organisation also plans to set up a soup kitchen and plans to host regular social fun day events along with a back to school campaign. They also aim to assist school-going learners and in particular the elderly who need fresh produce for their health.

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