We visited the growpods mini-gardens at Khanya’s ECD Centre and Busy Beez Creche in Slovoville to see how they were getting along with their gardens. We were excited to see the amount of growth that the spinach has achieved in just six short weeks. Harvesting started in December 2017 and the two centres have been harvesting an average of 10 – 15 bunches per week. The production from each of the 4 growpods at the centres is so much that they are able to sell the surplus to community members at around R10 to R15 per bunch to supplement funds for running their ECD centres. Some of the spinach is used to cook food for the children supported by the creches and some of the spinach is used for personal consumption by the staff.
The ladies at Khanya’s and Busy Beez have mastered the easy maintenance required for a growpod crop and they are thriving and thrilled about their easy-to-keep gardens. Growpods enable them to produce a crop for to supplement their centres fresh produce needs without demanding excessive time from their core duties of taking care of the children. The savings they make from growing their own produce together with the additional income from sales to community members means brings a level of sustainability to the gardens.
Growpods PVC Tunnels Provide Crop Protection
Another advantage of the growpods system was demonstrated at Khanya’s ECD Centre where hail damaged her butternut crop which is currently not under a protective shade. Her growpods spinach under the PVC Hoophouses was safe! This highlighted the need for more semi-controlled environment agriculture system in low-income agriculture & food security projects. Below one can see the extent of the hail damage on the Butternut crop.
Kids Learn About Vegetable Production
The children at the centres are also getting an early exposure to how vegetables are grown using modern technologies such as static hydroponics. Even the community members of Slovoville are excited about this new method of farming and have been making enquiries about how they can have their own systems for their homes. We hope to reach more homes and communities in 2018 through the generous contributions of the NPO and Corporate Social Investment (CSI) communities.