Getting children to learn how to grow vegetables at school is an idea which is growing in popularity across Mzansi.
The topic is close to the heart of Branden Gee and his business partner Cameron Blair, who also have a hydroponic set-up in Pinetown outside Durban, as well as an e-commerce business.
“Our major ambition is to get either a hydroponic system or a 100 percent organic and sustainable vegetable patch in every school in the country. That’s the reason we do it for free. We want everyone to learn how to grow their own food and self sustain.
“Each project deals with a different aspect that contributes to a greater goal, and that goal is sustainable living,” said Gee.
This past Friday they visited Curro Hillcrest Independent School and taught learners the basic building blocks of permaculture, and introduced a worm farm to the school.
“Worms are arguably the most important organisms to life on our planet. They convert organic matter into valuable nutrients that your plants will thank you for later,” he said.
The worm farm makes use of vegetable scraps which the worms feed on, which creates a nutrient rich liquid – worm wee – which helps build fertile soil, resulting in thriving crops.
On Saturday the duo hosted Thomas More College learners at their Geeshydro hydrophonic farm and grow store.
“We use the farm as an educational tool to teach anyone and everyone who is wanting to learn more about hydroponics.
“We see hydroponics as the future of farming since it uses 90% less water than traditional farming, and it can grow a surplus of food in a smaller area using vertical grow towers,” he said.
Their e-commerce website called Our Local Market is free to vendors in the upper highway area and was set up to create and support opportunities for young entrepreneurs to thrive by offering them a platform to sell their products with no risk.
“We want the next generation to not only learn how the natural world works, but also how to use it to create a business.
“By using nature the kids can learn how to create a vegetable garden that can thrive.We teach them how to build soil, how to harvest worm wee, how to grow seedlings to sell, growing chickens and learning how to harvest the eggs, as well as selling their produce,” he said.
Their business is structured around three major principles: Earth care, People care, Fair share.
Gee hopes to adopt more schools and relies on donations to make it happen.
If you want to help go to: https://gf.me/u/y6gtkm
“I know money has been harder to come by this year but I’ve been getting a little from all over, so any donation makes a huge difference, every little bit helps,” he said.