Engen, in collaboration with Acts of Random Kindness South Africa (ArkoSA), a not-for-profit company which encourages acts of random kindness one person at a time, are striving to assist schools in the production and growth of year-round crops.
With the introduction of Auto Gardens to 100 schools around the country by the end of the 2018 school year, learners will not only gain essential environmental awareness and scientific knowledge but will also have the chance to appreciate the fruits of their labour by enjoying the many benefits of eating healthy vegetables.
Piloting in the Western Cape, on 18 September 2017 at St Joseph’s Special School in Montana, the garden project will roll out to a further 19 schools in the Western Cape as part of phase 1 before moving to other provinces by the completion of phase 2.
Engen Corporate Social Investment Manager, Mntu Nduvane says one of the broad areas within Engen’s CSI focus is the environment, which includes mitigating the challenge of food security in our country.
“This initiative not only educates and creates awareness amongst educators and learners but supports the South African National Development Plan which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030,” he says.
Zita Marz, Director at ArkoSA says their objective is to support socio-economic upliftment initiatives.
“This garden project delivers innovative technology to not only strengthen the public school Nutrition Program, but also provides the schools with an additional learning resource,” says Marz.
Some of the many benefits of Auto Gardens include:
• Improved food security;
• Cost-savings as schools need to purchase less fresh produce;
• The use of specially formulated fertilisers ensures higher nutrient and vitamin content which benefits learner’s health;
• Water conservation as water is recycled; and
• A saving in electricity costs as irrigation is automatic and self-sustainable by using solar power.
“Engen is proud to be a part of this sustainable and socio-environmentally meaningful initiative. Through education and awareness, we hope to create a new generation of eco-savvy entrepreneurs”, adds Nduvane.