Crèche relaunches vegetable garden after three years

The Somerset West Village Garden gives people who live on the street an opportunity to uplift themselves and get back into mainstream society.

Pinocchio Crèche in Green Point relaunched their vegetable garden with a planting day last Wednesday, April 3.

The garden had been hard hit by the drought in the past three years.

For the past three decades, the crèche has provided nutritious, healthy meals, daily, as part of its holistic educare development programme for the kids.

Principal Helen Shongwe-Phillips said because of the water crisis, they were forced to stop planting and buy everything from supermarkets which hit their pockets. She said they used to sell their products to the greater community as well as parents.

“Before the drought, we were spoiled with a choice of just picking veggies from our garden. We used to pick 10 crates of potatoes and harvested plenty of vegetables and the drought really hit us hard,” she said.

Ms Shongwe-Phillips said they came to understand that climate change is something they will have to deal with because even the seasons have changed.

“We used to plant around February, but it has shifted, we’re planting a bit later than we should have, we’ve had to wait because we need to anticipate the rain,” she said.

With the help of members from the Green Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, the school planted using two approaches – planting directly into soil beds and grow bags. She said this was also their way of introducing the children to maths and science.

She said the children will come to the gardens and have discussions about the plants and help with the watering and taking care of the plants.

She said they’re hoping that the young minds will learn that they can build rather than destroy.

“They will understand that we have to work, plant, cultivate, take care and ultimately enjoy the meals coming from the plants,” she said.

The founder of the creche, Maggie Shongwe, said the vision was not only to make a service to be accessible to working parents but to also create an environment in which children learn the concepts, skills and character building that is required in order to be good citizens.