The annual Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme has announced the sixty-three top schools in the 2007 competition. Throughout the year, these schools have created and tended permaculture food gardens at their schools transforming their grounds into green, food-rich environments. The finalist schools from all provinces of the country were selected by permaculture experts who evaluated their resource-efficient designs, effective implementation of plans and adherence to environmentally-friendly permaculture practices. Representatives of these ‘best of the best’ schools, will travel to Gauteng to present their outstanding permaculture food gardening projects at an action-packed three-day event. At a time, when threats to the global environment and the need for sustainable living is at a peak, Woolworths Trust EduPlant is providing school communities with the knowledge and skills that enable them to grow their own good food, to comprehend the interdependence of natural systems and to care well for their environment. “We are delighted by the commitment and high standards that we have seen at the participating schools this year,” comments Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths BEE Transformation Manager. “The schools that have taken part in the 2007 programme are mostly schools in under-resourced communities who have risen to the challenge of combating food insecurity by growing their own good food in a sustainable way. At EduPlant every school is a winner and a beacon of hope and self-reliance in their communities.” Held at the end of September, the 2007 Woolworths Trust EduPlant finals is an exciting occasion that recognises and rewards schools for their outstanding achievements. Educators and learners will participate in a range of exciting workshops and capacity-building activities and it is an opportunity for schools to network with each other, share ideas and learn more about each other’s projects. There are cash prizes and gardening resources to be won, and 18 schools will be awarded places as the emerging, intermediate, and advanced and provincial winners of the 2007 competition. Woolworths Trust EduPlant in association with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Landcare SA and SABC Education, is the leading schools food gardening and greening programme that promotes and supports schools in the growing of food in a sustainable, natural way. The programme is managed by Food & Trees For Africa who has helped thousands of schools to enhance food security in their communities and to improve the nutrition of their learners. The benefits of participating in the annual Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme are widespread and ongoing. Schools become hubs of environmental awareness, sustainable living and nutritional knowledge, as well as resources of good food. They gain income from the production of fruit and vegetables and involve unemployed parents and neighbours in the food gardening effort. EduPlant schools play an important role in promoting self-reliance and home-grown sustainable development, thereby increasing their community’s confidence and capacity to drive their own development. ENDS