Plants to sustain school’s garden

Left is Magda Campbell, a home gardener and founder of Beacon Organic Garden, in the Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs garden with the pupils on Friday February 8.

The Anglo American Platinum’s Mining Indaba exhibition stand will grow roots at the Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs in Westridge where their plants will supplement the school’s existing garden and help to sustain more of the Mitchell’s Plain community.

They have built a stand that grows, which is essentially a living tree that showcases its sustainability strategy. This visual metaphor was taken a step further as the 400 fruit and vegetable plants were donated to the school.

The school was identified as a suitable beneficiary by Soil for Life, a non-profit organisation that teaches people how to grow healthy, organic vegetables, and with which Anglo American has partnered many times.

Pranill Ramchander, Anglo American South Africa’s’ head of corporate communication, said the initiative was rooted in the company’s purpose, which is also its theme for Mining Indaba 2019. This purpose is to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives.

“We’ve brought our purpose to life by showcasing our sustainability strategy. The stand design resembles a tree, which is traditionally known to be a meeting place in some communities in South Africa. The tree is also a metaphor for sustainable growth, and a symbol of a healthy environment. We hope that our contribution will inspire the people of Mitchell’s Plain to continue to find new ways of growing their community and living healthier lives,” said Mr Ramchander.

Soil for Life’s Magda Campbell said the organisation prioritised food security, health and care of the environment, and got its hands dirty, quite literally, in some of the country’s poorest urban areas. “The donation that Anglo American has made will make a significant difference because, not only are the plants edible, they will supplement the garden that exists at Beacon School and help to sustain more of the Mitchell’s Plain community.”

Ms Campbell received the 400 plants from Anglo American at a handover event on Friday February 8, at the Beacon School for Learners with Special Educational Needs.

Ms Campbell said Soil for Life’s work was not just about gardening or growing food but also growing people and empowering them with the skills and resourcefulness to help themselves on many fronts, from earning their own money, to supporting their families.

“Many of the gardeners we’ve trained are able to grow more vegetables than needed. They then either swop them for things they don’t grow or use them to barter for other items and services that aren’t generally available to people who don’t have cash – like education and healthcare. Our gardeners also often gain related skills, like making compost and building garden structures, that they can use to generate an income,” said Ms Campbell.