Garden project revived at Encotsheni Primary School

Ntombothando Tusani, Niko Falteni and Xolani Masallab cultivating the Iliso garden which they have relaunched recently.

The Iliso community project is relaunching its food garden project at Encotsheni Primary School in Site C.

After “deep discussion”, the organisation has decided to revive the project and implement strategies to ensure it doesn’t face the same challenges that forced it to close previously.

Ntombothando Tusani said when she joined the organisation two years ago, she discovered that the organisation had abandoned its food garden space at the school.

She then made it her mission to breathe new life into it.

Towards the end of last year, she said, they started clearing up the land to prepare it for planting.

Ms Tusani said the journey has been exciting even though it was not an easy one. Recently she and the team she assembled to assist her, have cultivated spinach, beetroots, onions and potatoes.

She said she decided to take on this project because she was passionate about food gardening and that she was putting to good use the farming skills she had learned in the Eastern Cape.

Part of the plan, she said, was to introduce food gardening to the children who attend the organisation’s early childhood development centre as well as those at the primary school. “But I also want to make this food garden financially sustainable. The primary goal is to assist the organisation in providing food.

“I want this to inspire other people to start their own food gardens (and) promote the importance of producing your own fresh food,” she said.

Ms Tusani said among the key challenges was the fact that the organisation depends solely on donations and they do not have adequate gardening tools or uniforms.

Niko Faltein, said he has decided to be part of the project simply because he was fond of gardening. He also wants to get young people involved in and educated about farming.