Tshimo ya Bophelo, meaning the Garden of Health, is a community vegetable garden project situated at Thebe District Hospital in Harrismith in the Free State has proven to be such a successful venture that it has won awards.
The project has been named the best vegetable garden in the entire Free State province.
The garden was started, and is managed by Thebe District Hospital Rehabilitation Department in collaboration with government’s Community Work Programme (CWP) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The vision of this project is to provide fresh, nutritious vegetables to sick and impoverished community members. Since the project began in 2013 it has grown from strength to strength, providing a wide variety of vegetables to the Thebe Hospital kitchen on a weekly basis. The project saves the hospital money and is a source of healthy food options.
Spinach, cabbage, onions, beetroot, tomatoes, green beans, gem squash and pumpkin, along with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme are grown in the garden. So not only does it provide good nutrition, but also flavourful options to enhance the meals cooked for hospital patients.
Tshimo ya Bophelo was entered into the Hlasela Tlala Ka Diratswana competition for vegetables garden in the province and excelled, winning the Best Health Facility Garden in Maluti-a-Phofung and overall winner of the Thabo Mufatsanyana District said competition spokeswoman Petri Cook.
Selina Mokone (45) from Harrismith, a patient who visits the hospital, said: "We are very grateful for this garden, and to the hospital for providing us and the patients with healthy food. Some of us we, can't afford to buy vegetables. I have type 2 diabetes, and when I come to the hospital I get good food.”
Vusi Makubu, a gardener at the Tshimo ya Bophelo, said he is very committed to his work and is happy to know that the garden plays such a major part in people's lives by promoting healthy eating.
He said it was his aim to find a way to cover some areas of the garden with shade cloth in order to protect the plants from extreme weather.
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