Food & Trees for Africa is assisting Cummins with its successful food-garden initiative at four Gauteng schools, namely Ivory Park Secondary School, Ingqayizivele High School, Minerva Secondary School, and Manzini Primary School. The initiative has managed to double its production, with ten times the diversity of produce, thanks to the assistance from Food & Trees for Africa.
The year-long partnership came into effect when Cummins assisted Food & Trees for Africa on an initial tree-planting and education initiative, which eventually developed into an ongoing drive to promote sustainable projects.
“We realised that, in order for these projects to be sustainable, we had to partner with an organisation such as Food & Trees for Africa, which has a unique business model in this regard,” Cummins Harrowdene Deputy CIT Team Leader René du Plessis comments.
The food-garden project at the four schools involved planting indigenous trees and vegetable gardens, and assisting local communities to generate their own organic vegetables. A total of 60 indigenous trees and 60 fruit trees was supplied at Ivory Park Secondary School, Ingqayizivele High School and Manzini Primary School, together with compost and seedlings to each of these under-resourced schools, including Minerva Secondary School.
The produce from the initiative is channelled into feeding schemes at the various schools. Food & Trees for Africa also provided expert advice on environmental education, as inculcating environmental awareness in learners is an integral part of the project.
Food & Trees for Africa Food Gardens Manager Robyn Hills comments that Cummins has proved to be an enthusiastic partner. “Cummins staff are well-informed about climate change and its impact on food production. With the help of staff, we have conducted seedling drops, set up stalls and done herb giveaways. We have also arranged talks to encourage community participation. Cummins has played a major role in helping us achieve these milestones.”
René explains that Cummins selected this particular CSI initiative as environmental awareness and stewardship is very much in the DNA of the company. This is evident in the way Cummins manufactures its engines, taking careful consideration of international emissions regulations.
An important part of the food-garden initiative is to ensure buy-in from the participating schools and local communities. “It is vital that teachers, learners, and community members lend their support in order to ensure a successful and sustainable outcome,” René concludes.