In February 2017, we covered the vegetable beds with a blanket of cattle manure kindly provided by the community. This would ensure a continuing living, fertile medium for all the fresh fruit and vegetables to come. Volunteers from the community worked tirelessly at preparing the vegetable beds, spreading compost, and planting those first seedlings of, onions, tsunga, viscouse, rape and green pepper. Nhaka Foundation’s commitment to this effort was to provide the freshest vegetables to the Early Childhood development (ECD) program pupils as well as grades one to two learners school feeding program.
One really amazing thing is that a number of our vegetable beds were planted TWICE, while several beds saw (3) crops. Proper plant selections contributed to that success. In May 2017 the Self-sustaining Nutrition Garden project at Munyawiri Primary School proved to be the best ever in the 3 months of its existence. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown. From the community point of view, one of the most important benefits of having the school nutrition gardens is easy access to low-cost, healthy, nutritious produce for learners. The Munyawiri Nutrition Garden Project has helped the school to feed more than 250 pupils including vulnerable learners, at the same time strengthening community food security, improving nutrition, and helping balance family food budgets. We believe that the gardening also nurtures self-esteem and leadership skills among both community members and students. Through their hands-on skills on the nutrition garden project, communities build locally based food economies that emphasize social health, environmentally sustainable practices, and economic strength through their food production. Thus this movement promotes retention of children within the school system and also sets the stage for improved nutrition and health for the children, which is fundamental to improving education.
Team Nhaka is hoping to make the nutrition gardens in months to come better yet. Over the next several months together with the volunteers we will be creating a plan… deciding what to plant, when to plant it. We will refine that rotation plan in preparation for the hand-over of the nutrition garden to the school and the community.