A Kraaifontein primary school is feeding its learners’ minds and also their hungry bellies.
Cavalleria Primary School in Scottsdene has become a “garden of Eden” after going green and organic.
The school’s food garden is so lush and impressive that it prompted a visit from Education MEC Debbie Schafer recently.
Principal Hurschelle Carolissen says they started the garden in 2010 after they saw how many learners came to school on an empty stomach.
Since they started feeding their kids, not only have they seen an increase in attendance, but the learners’ marks have also gone up.
A proud Carolissen says: “Our children did not eat, or eat healthy for that matter. We also saw bad results and attendance in our learners. Since we started this garden we have been feeding our learners up to two meals a day.
“Between 600-700 learners get their morning cereal at school and a warm, cooked meal at 10am everyday. For many, this is the only meal they get for the day.
“However, this project has seen significant results by improving attendance, concentration and the willingness from our learners to learn.”
Schafer congratulated the school on its “remarkable” achievement.
She says: “This is an excellent example of leadership in our schools and how we can find ways in which to assist our learners – not only to provide them with a meal, but also to improve learning and attendance at schools.”
The large garden provides an impressive number of fresh fruit and veggies every day – including tomatoes, figs, plums, peaches, grapes, strawberries, eggplant, cabbage, carrots, spinach and many more, as well as a variety of herbs.
Caretaker Hilton Titus says they make their own pesticide and fertiliser, and pupils love working in the garden.
A proud Titus tells the Daily Voice: “We have to protect our beautiful garden so we make our own pesticide from chillies, wild garlic and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. We also use wild herbs and chicken pellets to make our fertilisers.
“We take pride in our garden and many times teachers give classes here. Our learners help to clean, plant and take care of our garden, they sacrifice their intervals, after school and any time they can.”