Learning Permaculture at Mqanduli Community Schools

Experiential school learning garden at one of the community schools in Mqanduli.

The kids designed this school permaculture demonstration garden.

They were involved in the establishment right from the start, making composts, raising seedlings, planting the garden and watering.

They are learning throughout all stages.

This helps improve pupils understanding of science subjects as well as gain understanding of how real food is produced as well as learning methodologies.

In growing food and how it works to maintain health and prolong life.

No Dig Permaculture Gardens: An inspiration to Mqanduli community

Mqanduli is a village close to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. The area was named after a nearby hill of Xhosa origin meaning grindstone maker. Umtiza Farmer`s corp is the only agricultural supply company operating in this poorest part of the eastern cape where developing sustainable agricultural systems is widely regarded as holding the best hope of stimulating growth, reduce diseases related to malnutrition and alleviating poverty.
Hence, the introduction of No Dig permaculture concepts by Operation Hunger.

The first garden that we now call Mqanduli Pilot No Dig Permaculture Demonstration garden was established at Mqanduli Community Health centre in June 2017. It was after seeing the way sick people were flocking to the local clinic for treatment of diet related chronic diseases such diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis and many others.

Designing a garden that was less demanding in terms of labour and resources. A garden that was purely organic with a diverse of high nutrient crops produced from natural seeds that were free from toxic fertilizers, pesticides and agrichemicals. That was the No Dig garden method.

Making raised beds from pallets

Making nursery pots by recycling empty yogurt and traditional beer containers

Upon the completion of the pilot garden, Operation Hunger organised a community gathering on Mandela day where the community and local stakeholders were invited to come and witness the occasion. There was discussions on the issue of chronic diseases being caused by poor nutrition, wrong eating habits and overuse of prescription medication and agrichemicals and on how synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically engineered foods contribute in the development of certain lifestyle diseases.

Operation Hunger then demonstrated production and use of specific herbs and vegetables to control certain chronic.

A lot of people and organisations present that day were inspired and vowed to have the same gardens established at their places. That was the birth of two more demonstration gardens at Wilo clinic and Mbekweni Health centre.

Using waste material to design no dig gardens: Used pallets for raised beds, cardboard for sheet mulching and grass for compost

The use of high nutrient compost material from domestic animals such as poultry and sheep caused some of the projects being implemented under the auspices of Operation Hunger to venture into poultry projects such as Masimanyane, Ekukwezeni and Thanga. These projects are slowly coming up and with proper support they have the ability to change their livelihoods and community health for better.

The gardens are weed free, self-regenerative and health enhancing due to the diverse range of high nutrient organic crops in one garden. Growing a mixture of herbs, vegetables and fruits and edible weeds go a long way in promoting healthy livelihoods, alleviating poverty, hunger and diseases and that’s what we are doing. With such developments people are beginning to understand the significance of self-help initiatives and healthy eating behaviours.

 

A flourishing pilot demonstration garden with herbs, vegetables, small fruiting plants, traditional super food and spices.

Limpopo and Mpumalanga Vegetable Gardens- Pjapjamela

Limpopo and Mpumalanga Vegetable Gardens- Pjapjamela

The garden at pjapjamela soup kitchen is flourishing due to the availability of water from a borehole drilled and equipped through the assistance of INMED. Mr Johanah Ngobeni a person living with disability is participating in the garden, and he thanked Operation hunger for the support given to the community of Pjapjamela both for the soup kitchen and garden. “Both my family and myself, our lives have improved as we benefit from the vegetables we planted by our own hands from the garden” he proclaimed. “ This reminds me of my hardship during the 80s where I was working at a timber factory, waking up early in the morning at around 3:00am and travelling a distance of about 7km to catch a truck to the timber factory which was also difficult for me to climb up on the truck. I was earning R70.00 after 5 weeks of labour”, he further narrated his previous experience.

“Today we are fed right here at our work place and carry on with our daily work in the garden without carrying anything to eat from our homes. What a blessing is this?“ He asked as he continues to tell of his story.

Mr Ngobeni works together with other volunteers whom are young men and women from the community of Pjapjamela and sell their produce to local and neighbouring villages and schools for income generating.

 

Success story compiled by Solomon Mojela: OH Mpumalanga & Limpopo regions’ project coordinator

Date compiled: 10/09/2017

 

A story from Mrs. Nocwengile Malayisha

A story from Mrs. Nocwengile Malayisha

Mrs N Molovisha

I Mrs. Nocwengile Malayisha from Ndlovana village under the township of Mqanduli, I would like to express my word of gratitude to Operation Hunger and village leaders who saw the need of starting feeding schemes in our villages.  I came to know about Operation Hunger in June 2010 when a feeding scheme was started at Ekukhwezeni village where poverty and community needs were so demanding.  Furthermore I did not believe Operation Hunger management when they promised us that all five villages will also have these feeding schemes.  Patiently I was so desperate and in hurry to have this project in my own village.

I remember in September 2013, Operation Hunger eventually brought kitchen equipment our village Ndlovana and started feeding the neediest individuals, families, people and house headed families that were suffering from hunger because employment is very rare in the surrounding areas of Mqanduli.  Since then Operation Hunger has brought a huge change in our village, most children had sores in their heads because there were not feed properly.  Some of the children they even improved their weight we have witness this during weighing of children and feedback afterwards provided by this organization that has uplifted our village to better.  I am saying this because all six feeding schemes are not only focusing on feeding but there are also other projects that bring income to volunteers and change in many families.

Last year September 2015 Operation Hunger together with community leaders brought fencing which was given to Ekukhwezeni village for gardening in 2010.  Hence Ekukhwezeni ended up losing interest for gardening because their garden was not producing good crops and they started sowing and it was then that fencing was brought to Ndlovana village.  Ever since we received this fencing we are able to harvest cabbage and potatoes, our people are buying cabbage from us and we are also benefiting from this garden as a project.  December 2015 we were able to earn R600.00 each as project members/volunteers of the project and we also managed to bring change in our families by buying Christmas clothing for our children.

Lastly I would like to really extend my appreciation to Operation Hunger for allowing us as projects to grow not only focus on feeding but rather to extend and start other project that would bring income and change our family style of leaving.  I look forward in starting other project but in the help of Operation Hunger.