Press release

Wessa Eco-Schools Green Day: Creating Worth and Value.

June 28, 2014

“I am going to grow my own garden!” “I want to plant my own seeds and see how the plants grow. “I am going to help my grandparents weed the garden.” “Even though I don’t have space for a garden at home, I am making plans to plant a garden!”

These were some of the feedback received from the pupils of the Duneside Primary School after they attended a Spur-sponsored WESSA Eco-Schools Green Day on a very rainy Wednesday, 18 June, in Mitchell’s Plain on the Cape Flats. A week prior to this event a Green Day was also held at the Saxonsea Primary School in Atlantis on the Cape West Coast.

Duneside Primary and Saxonsea Primary have been part of the Eco-Schools programme for many years and Spur will be assisting the schools during 2014 to ensure sustainable gardening and educate the community on the values of growing your own crop.

For the Green Day in Mitchell’s Plain, Spur:

  • provided food for every child at the schools (1500 fruit at Duneside Primary School and 1430 cups of soup, bread and oranges for pupils and staff at Saxonsea Primary School)
  • sponsored educational sessions with approximately 130 learners (making curriculum links and teaching learners why the garden has been planted at their school).
  • provided financially for the plants, seedlings, compost, labour and facilitation of the permaculture garden.
  • covered WESSA’s facilitation of the event
  • financed three site visits from permaculture experts, SEED, to ensure the planning, implementation and follow-up of the garden.

The day started with training sessions in classrooms, where scholars of grade 2. 5 and 6 were taught of the various plants, the uses thereof and planning techniques. After that, learners were taken outside to an area on the school grounds, where two American volunteers from Seed, Mark McKown and Alexis Jessop, and Mark Myburg taught them, demonstrated and then allowed them to plant the plants themselves.

One of the highlights was when Mark Myburg discovered an earthworm in the soil. He allowed children to touch the earthworm (a first for many of them) and could practically illustrate the value of this amazing creature, which is crucial for the survival of any garden.

“We used mostly indigenous plants, except for lavender and rosemary, which are regarded as water wise and non-invasive and thus suitable for the Cape Town/Mitchells Plain /strandveld ecosystem. These two herbs attract pollinators (birds, bees, butterflies, etc.) and offer produce for cooking and medicinal use. Other plants that we planted include cale, spinach, spring onions, and more,” says Mark.

“If I can only make these children go home and see what they can do with plants, I will be happy. What makes the potential even bigger is that the community can get involved, as the children eagerly spread the word of what they have learnt at the Green Day,” explains Mark.

“Gardening is great for children. Kids learn new skills and have fun, especially when they grow an edible garden. The whole project creates opportunities for people to be a part of something, where they can experience a sense of worth and value. By transforming our environment, the value of appreciation was brought to every single individual that’s part of the school and even the community,” he adds.

SEED has spent the past 12 years building the foundation for environmental education and development in schools, built upon our vision that it is possible to transform whole communities towards land-based resilience, self-generation and social cohesion through supporting a culture of outdoor learning and environmental education at schools. The SEED programme has managed to create a new love and appreciation for plants and crops in our learners.

The Eco-Schools Programme is an international programme (in 58 countries) which was initiated in South Africa in 2003, with WESSA as the implementing agent to improve environmental management at the school, as well as environmental learning and to educate to living more sustainably. There are over 1200 registered schools with the programme.

WESSA approached SEED, to assist with the implementation of a permaculture garden at each school. Together with WESSA Eco-Schools and Spur they provided the perfect opportunity for education around sustainable farming practices, engaging the learners in active participation: planting the plants and seedling in a carefully managed event at each school.

This was all aimed to ignite passion in individuals, bringing ‘caring for the earth’ and sustainably living alive.

Watch the video here:



 NAME: Ronel van Dijk, Chairperson of the Spur Foundation and Chief Financial Officer of Spur Corporation Limited
TEL: +27 21 555 5100
TWITTER: @SpurRestaurant #SpurEcoTeam #SpurFoundation