National 12.8.2016 01:31 pm

Resort’s self-sustaining efforts improves health of 1 500 pupils

The vegetable garden at the Wild Coast Sun continues to flourish under the nurturing care of Alex Nzimakwe (right) and his team (from left) Nomfanelo Cekiso, Dicember Ndovela, Beauty Qwaphekana and Vuyiswa Hlanga. Picture: South Coast Herald.

The vegetable garden at the Wild Coast Sun continues to flourish under the nurturing care of Alex Nzimakwe (right) and his team (from left) Nomfanelo Cekiso, Dicember Ndovela, Beauty Qwaphekana and Vuyiswa Hlanga. Picture: South Coast Herald.

Seven tons of produce was harvested from the vegetable garden in the last financial year, saving the Wild Coast Sun more than R90 000.

A KwaZulu-Natal resort’s efforts to become more self-sustaining are paying off handsomely, and are improving the health of 1 500 pupils at three neighbouring schools, reports South Coast Herald.

Nearly two years ago, green-conscious staff members at the Wild Coast Sun Hotel and Casino Resort in Port Edward decided to start growing vegetables. It proved a great idea.

The now extensive vegetable garden supplies the resort’s kitchen with a wide range of fresh vegetables and herbs. It is also stretching the budget. A substantial seven tons of produce was harvested in the last financial year, saving the Wild Coast Sun more than R90 000.

All surplus vegetables and herbs are donated to Serhasheni Primary School, Ebenezer Junior Secondary School and Bright Future Pre-primary School.

The project also creates employment opportunities, as the garden is tended by men from the surrounding communities, led by Alex Nzimakwe.

The garden spans a considerable area, 60m by 57m in size, and consists of eight growing lines, each 5m wide. Produce includes cabbages, broccoli, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, beetroot and green peppers. Rosemary, sage, sweet basil and parsley plants thrive in the herb garden.

Last year, the garden produced almost 600kg of green pepper, which would have cost the resort R14 690 to buy. Spinach also thrives, with the 717kg crop harvested last year saving the resort R9 177.

A new member in the cast of colourful plants is a lovely little orange tree, grown from a single seed from an orange from Bambanani.

Recently, the garden was expanded to incorporate a rice field.

The Wild Coast Sun’s environmental manager, Sonja Stroud, said the vegetable garden was an environmental project aimed at reducing carbon emissions, fuel consumption and waste to landfill. It was a natural extension to the resort’s very successful compost project.

Garden refuse and other organic waste matter was converted into enough natural compost to dress the sprawling lawns at the Wild Coast Sun as well as to feed all the vegetables and herbs.

“We are thrilled with the progress we have made towards optimising our resource efficiencies and entrenching sustainable practices. Our vegetable garden offers an abundant supply of fresh vegetables and herbs, which our culinary teams enthusiastically use in the kitchens,” said Sonja.

She said the Wild Coast Sun team was proud of what it had achieved over the last two years.

Caxton News Service

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