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South Africa: Cultivating Indigenous Vegetables in School Vegetable Gardens: Nestle and the CSIR Launches Pilot Project
Source: http://www.csir.co.za/enews/2013_mar/10.html
Source Date: Friday, April 12, 2013
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: South Africa
Created: Apr 12, 2013

This school was selected because of its demonstrated commitment to developing school gardens and its overwhelming support to the community. A dedicated area next to the existing vegetable garden at the school was reserved, cleared of weed and prepared for Project Morogo. Approximately 600 plantlets of the indigenous grain, cow pea; and the vegetable crops amaranth and were also planted.
Project Morogo has been designed to promote and support food production and improve food security in school communities. Three highly nutritious – but neglected – native plants have been identified and through this collaboration are set to find their way back into the community’s regular diet, improving nutrition and creating jobs in the community. The purpose of the project is to enhance school meals with micro-nutrient rich vegetables, and provide the learners with a good diet in order to develop, grow well and be protected from diseases.
Tshidi Moroka, a Socio-Economic Outcomes Manager at the CSIR, says: “The CSIR will educate the learners and community on the health benefits of the leafy indigenous vegetables.”
The field preparation and seedling planting were done by the Agricultural Research Council, who also supplied the seedlings and seeds. They also educated the learners on how to plant and care for the plants.
“We can expect the first harvest in three to five weeks. These crops will be used in the school’s feeding scheme, where different ways of preparation and menus will be developed to prepare a palatable meal while minimising the loss of nutrients during the cooking process. The school feeds about 700 kids daily,” says Moroka.
In March 2012, a ground-breaking partnership between Nestlé and the CSIR was signed by top management representatives. This partnership is a culmination of work which had started in 2010. The partnership was formed to accelerate scientific development programmes and to stimulate constructive engagement between the Nestlé Research Centre, the academic sector and government.
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