Norma Road Primary’s budding food garden

HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMAN

Norma Road Primary School pupils, with organisations Samporele and Greenpop, got their hands dirty to plant life-giving trees on the school premises.

Samporele is a Sesotho word meaning umbrella. The organisation starts and manages organic food security gardens, and is based at Norma Road Primary.

It was Samporele’s co-founder, Dominique Tomlinson, who approached Greenpop, an urban greening social enterprise, to plant 20 trees at the school.

Said Ms Tomlinson: “We started with the organisation last year, and this year we are at 10 schools. The people who work on the project, are parents at the respective schools. Our food gardens are especially there to help feeding schemes at poorer schools. We provide an extra three types of vegetables, in addition to what the feeding schemes normally get. With food being a scarcity, we needed to find a way to better our community.

“We also wanted children to become interested in agriculture, which is so much more than just planting, as well as, introducing organic gardening into our community.”

Nick Fordyce, Greenpop’s Cape Town urban greening manager, said that because of the care needed for fruit trees, they don’t normally plant them at a school the first time around, but because Norma Road had an existing food garden, they had made an exception. “We planted 10 indigenous trees and 10 fruit trees. We are keen to plant as many trees as we can, but at the same time, we also don’t want to plant the trees, for them to die when they don’t get the necessary care. Planting a tree is like caring for a pet – it requires serious care.

“There is an application process for schools who would like us to plant trees, and after the application, we do a site visit to determine sustainability. We focus heavily on the areas that need trees,” Mr Fordyce said.

This plant day was Greenpop’s fifth one for the year, and the organisation aims to do 50 plant days in a year.

If you would like to become a Greenpop volunteer, make a contribution to give a gift of a tree, or apply for a plant day, visit the website: www.greenpop.org or call 021 461 9265.