Plant a school garden to alleviate hunger

ACCA SA Marketing Promotions Manager, Karen Smal would like to see more corporates and individuals in South Africa sponsor school vegetable gardens.

Food security is an issue for millions of people worldwide. According to the United Nations, around 870 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished; 234 million chronically undernourished people live in Sub Saharan Africa.

A five-year study by UCT’s Africa Food Security Unit reveals that more than 12 million South Africans go to bed hungry. Expressed differently, 77% of households in South Africa are either moderately or severely food insecure.

ACCA SA ‘adopted’ Refalletse Primary School in Orange Farm, approximately two years ago. Working very closely with the principal and staff at Refalletse Primary School, ACCA SA has been exposed first hand, to dire poverty. Many of the children from the school are drawn from child-headed households or from families where the parents are unemployed.

Refalletse Primary School has a feeding scheme in place, and attempts, in a modest way, to assist destitute families, who have children at the school. Working in partnership with the school and with Fasset (the Seta for Finance and Accounting) we realised that more could be done to alleviate hunger.

Schools generally have spare land. What better way to support the school and the community from which the school draws than to plant a vegetable garden. ACCA and Fasset staff, together with staff from Blackmoon Design and Advertising, members of the community and teachers, recently spent two days preparing the ground and planting vegetables. Nutritious, easy growing vegetables, with a high nutritional value were planted such as gem squash, butternut, onions, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, beet and mielies.

Experience from Southern Asia has shown that food gardens can play an important role in improving food security and nutrition. Research conducted by non-profit institute for vegetable research and development, AVFDC reveals that a 6m X 6m home garden can produce over 250kg of vegetables per year, and will provide a family of four with sufficient vitamin A and vitamin C.

ACCA SA has always championed sustainability. It is our fervent hope that the vegetable garden will prove a sustainable source of nutrition for needy children and their families, in the years to come. It is also our fervent hope that encouraged by the output of the vegetable garden at the school, children from the school and more members from the Orange Farm community will be encouraged to plant their own vegetable garden.

The year-end is rapidly approaching. This is always the time for making New Year’s resolutions. There are 25 000 schools in South Africa – imagine the enormous difference we could make, collectively, to alleviate hunger, if each and every school planted its own vegetable garden. As a corporate or an individual, are you willing to take the first step, to set the ball rolling, to start a vegetable garden at a school in your community?

Karen Smal
ACCA SA Marketing and Promotions Manager

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