Social Investment Engen launches Auto Gardens in 100 schools across South Africa

Engen launches Auto Gardens in 100 schools across South Africa

St Josephs school. Back Row, (L-R) Gideon Petersen (deputy Principal), Shadley Daniels, Malenie Holland, Neville van Schalckwyk and Zita Marz (ArkSA) Front Row, (L-R) Ethan Stanfield , Maxima Cedras, Fabian Pietersen. and Faiz Claasen.
(Western Cape) – Engen, in collaboration with Acts of Random Kindness South Africa (ArkoSA), a not-for-profit company which encourages acts of random kindness one person at a time, is striving to assist schools in the production and growth of year-round crops.
Learner from St Josephs School from left to right: Ethan Stanfield, Shadley Daniels, Maxima Cedras, Fabian Petersen, Faiz Claase with Gideon Petersen (Deputy Principal), Melanie Holland (Engen CSI), Neville Van Schalkwyk (Volunteer at St Jospeh’s Primary) and Zita Marz (ArkSA).

With the introduction of Auto Gardens to 100 schools around the country by the end of the 2018 school year, learners will not only gain essential environmental awareness and scientific knowledge but will also have the chance to appreciate the fruits of their labour by enjoying the many benefits of eating healthy vegetables.

Having piloted in the Western Cape, on 18 September 2017 at St Joseph’s Special School in Montana, the garden project is expected to roll out to a further 19 schools in the Western Cape as part of phase 1 before moving to other provinces by the completion of phase 2.

Engen Corporate Social Investment Manager, Mntu Nduvane said one of the broad areas within Engen’s CSI focus is the environment, which includes mitigating the challenge of food security in our country.

“This initiative not only educates and creates awareness amongst educators and learners but supports the South African National Development Plan which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030,” he says.

Zita Marz, Director at ArkoSA said their objective is to support socio-economic upliftment initiatives.

“This garden project delivers innovative technology to not only strengthen the public school Nutrition Program, but also provides the schools with an additional learning resource,” said Marz.

Some of the many benefits of Auto Gardens include:

  •         Improved food security;
  •         Cost-savings as schools need to purchase less fresh produce;
  •         The use of specially formulated fertilisers ensures higher nutrient and vitamin content which benefits       learner’s health;
  •         Water conservation as water is recycled; and
  •         A saving in electricity costs as irrigation is automatic and self-sustainable by using solar power.

“Engen is proud to be a part of this sustainable and socio-environmentally meaningful initiative.  Through education and awareness, we hope to create a new generation of eco-savvy entrepreneurs”, adds Nduvane.