Future Foundations, Novus Holdings’s corporate social investment division committed to transforming communities, is making food security in vulnerable areas in the Western Cape possible.

A donation of R360 000 earlier in 2017 by the organisation to Call 2 Care’s iGardi Project is helping three schools to grow and cultivate their own water-wise fruit and vegetable gardens. This year alone the project has seen 36 garden boxes having been installed, resulting in approximately 900 children being fed per day. The schools are: William Lloyd Primary School in Paarl, The Du Noon Recreational Hub (the primary beneficiary of which is Zusakhe Early Childhood Development Centre) and Marconi Beam Primary School in Joe Slovo. The iGardi Project regularly visits these schools to check on the projects and provide mentorship.

Studies have proven that children cannot learn at school if they are hungry and in South Africa over nine million underprivileged children rely on school feeding programmes for their daily meal.

“Food gardens at schools are a manner of alleviating the hunger of communities and their children and reducing their dependence on feeding schemes by allowing them to become self-reliant. It is closely aligned to the Future Foundation’s mission of transforming communities by making a sustainable difference,” says Peter Metcalfe, group executive of sales and marketing at Novus Holdings.

Metcalfe adds that, besides feeding the school children, the teachers are also using the gardens as educational tools for science and biology lessons.

Steven dos Ramos, Managing Director at Call 2 Care, adds that the current devastating drought across the Western Cape has negatively impacted upon food security in the region, and vulnerable areas need to be protected.

“The iGardi Project’s water-wise vegetable garden boxes are a unique and effective means of growing vegetables. They are self-contained raised beds with built-in reservoirs that supply water from the bottom up – ensuring minimal maintenance by only requiring watering every two to three weeks and achieving a massive water saving of up to 70% annually,” says Dos Ramos..

He adds that drought-resistant food gardens are particularly important in South Africa where water resources are limited.

To further limit the impact of the drought on the communities at which the iGardi project is based, the organisation has started the process of installing rainwater tanks on each site. Novus Holdings has already donated a tank to Marconi Beam Primary School to reduce the school’s reliance on municipal water.

“We also host a number of educational programs within communities to ensure that anyone is able to build these gardens cost-effectively to grow their own nutritious food sustainably. We regularly visit each site and host workshops with classroom monitors who have the role of monitoring the gardens’ progress,” concludes dos Ramos.