The Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme is calling on South African educators to become drivers of food security in their communities by entering the 2009 Woolworths Trust EduPlant competition, a national permaculture-gardening competition that recognises and rewards schools using sustainable permaculture techniques to produce good food for the benefit of children and the wider school community. Permaculture is a system of gardening and farming that combines plants, animals, buildings, water, landscapes and people in a way that produces more energy than it uses, recycles all waste and nutrients and imitates nature as much as possible to grow fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. The permaculture way is a cost- effective and easy way to achieve community self-reliance, as well as improved nutrition and health. In 2009, 524 motivated KwaZulu-Natal educators attended the eight free Woolworths Trust EduPlant workshops held in the Province. It is hoped that many of these educators have now cultivated food gardens at their schools and will be ready to enter them into the exciting national competition. Last year, top KwaZulu-Natal food-gardening schools shone in the competition – Muzuvukile Junior Primary took first place in the Emerging Category, Qoyintaba Primary and Maguqu Primary took first and third places respectively in the Intermediate Category, Sivananda Primary took second place in the Advanced Category, while Isqophamithi Primary claimed the Provincial prize. The Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme in association with the Department of Education and SAfm, is South Africa’s leading schools’ food gardening and greening initiative. According to Brian Frost, Chairman of the Woolworths Trust, schools reap many benefits from participating in Woolworths Trust EduPlant. “A thriving permaculture food garden at school provides hungry children with fresh produce – improving both the quantity and quality of nutrition available to them,” says Frost. “Many EduPlant schools also boost their income from the sale of surplus produce and often the educators show fellow teachers how to establish their own food gardens thereby becoming food security champions in their own communities.” Alwin Kgopa, a teacher at Toronto Primary in Mankweng (Limpopo Province), is a key example of the programme’s success. In 2001, Kgopoa entered Toronto's garden project into EduPlant and came second in the Emerging category. Eight years later Kgopa has consistently won numerous awards for the school’s garden, including government recognition for their work. More significantly Kgopa has formed a cluster of 15 other local schools to encourage them to develop permaculture food gardens. Toronto Primary serves as 'environmental centre' for these schools and their community spirit was recently acknowledged when they won the Woolworths Trust EduPlant Mentoring Award. This category was added last year to the annual competition and recognises schools that extend permaculture and gardening to other schools and their immediate community. The Woolworths Trust EduPlant competition encourages a long-term commitment to the programme with schools entering into Emerging, Intermediate, Advanced and Mentoring categories. Participating schools are encouraged and rewarded as they develop their gardening projects. Each year, 70 finalist schools stand to win a trip to Gauteng to attend the exciting Woolworths Trust EduPlant Finals event. This is a valuable three-day experience where educators and learners attend workshops, present their projects to a panel of judges, network with other school and enjoy a host of fun activities. Each finalist school also wins a cash prize as well as environmental, health and gardening resources. Additional prize money and resources will be awarded to 21 overall winners. In its promotion of the permaculture way of food gardening, Woolworths Trust EduPlant transfers vital sustainable living skills to school communities. Earlier this year, a record number of 5 745 educators attended free one-day Woolworths Trust EduPlant permaculture food gardening workshops, held across the country. At these workshops educators gained the know-how and practical skills to design and develop sustainable, resource-efficient food gardens at their schools. “We have been delighted at the response of so many dedicated educators who attended the free EduPlant workshops over the past year,” says Frost. “We encourage them to keep up the momentum and enter the competition now as the next step in their inspiring journey towards more sustainable and healthy living. As part of the programme, schools with new food gardens will be supported over time as they develop their projects. Last year, the Woolworths Trust initiated the Mentoring Category to recognise those schools that have become important hubs of sustainable living resources in their communities. Our vision is to see many more of the Woolworths Trust EduPlant entrants reaching that great level of expertise and generosity.” Entry forms and more information about the programme is available from the project coordinators Food & Trees for Africa: Joanne Rolt on (011) 803 9750, email joanne@trees.org.za or see www.trees.co.za Woolworths Trust EduPlant page. Entries can be faxed to (011) 803 9604 OR email joanne@trees.org.za or post to FTFA, P O Box 2035, Gallo Manor, 2052 . Entries close on 12 June. Ends Notes to Editors •The Woolworths Trust: The Woolworths Trust was formed in 2003 as a consolidation of Woolworths' social investment strategy. The Trust integrates Woolworths' existing and future projects by serving as a focused channel for meaningful social investment and for the goals of Woolworths’ Good business journey relating to social development. •Many SA schools are recognising the multiple benefits of establishing food gardens in their grounds. Learning to grow food sustainably is a vital life skill. A school with a thriving food garden becomes a food security resource in their community. They are better able to feed hungry children, and they can raise funds from the sale of surplus produce. Permaculture food gardens also provide schools with living, learning laboratories to deliver outcomes-based education in all learning areas. Schools with permaculture food gardens play an important role in assisting the country in the effort to eradicate poverty through sustainable food production. •Permaculture is a system of gardening and farming that combines plants, animals, buildings, water, landscapes and people in a way that produces more energy than it uses, recycles all waste and nutrients, and imitates nature as much as possible. Through the Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme children learn how to brew natural pesticides, inter-plant crops and attract birds and useful insects. They make their own compost, collect rainwater and create gardening tools and ornaments from waste products. They experience the satisfaction of tending abundant gardens and reaping good food. •The Woolworths Trust was formed in 2003 as a consolidation of Woolworths' social investment strategy. The Trust integrates Woolworths' existing and future projects by serving as a focused channel for meaningful social investment. •The Trust effectively brings Woolworths in line with global best practices of corporate citizenship. •The Woolworths Trust focuses on nutritional education, food security and environmental care, as well as addressing challenges of orphaned and vulnerable children- this is all done within the education system. These criteria reflect both national priorities and Woolworths' experience and brand attributes. •The Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme is the Trust's main social investment project. The Trust will continue to donate approximately R100 million worth of food and R20 million worth of clothes to selected charities serving the needy a

The Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme is calling on South African educators to become drivers of food security in their communities by entering the 2009 Woolworths Trust EduPlant competition, a national permaculture-gardening competition that recognises and rewards schools using sustainable permaculture techniques to produce good food for the benefit of children and the wider school community.