Daily Life of Two Food Security Interns at Urban Harvest in Cape Town

As the Communications and Marketing intern at Roots Interns, I always love finding out more about what our interns are doing! We’ve got many interns at different organizations, but the one that I hadn’t been to yet was Urban Harvest. Urban Harvest is an organization designing and maintaining edible food gardens for schools, businesses, and individuals, which is making a real impact in the local communities. I wanted to check it out, so I spent a day with Julia and Annemiek.

Julia and Annemiek are the two Food Security interns at Urban Harvest. They’re both from the same university in the Netherlands, but didn’t know each other until they got here! Julia studies Food & Agribusiness and Annemiek studies Food Innovation. Both in their third year, they had to do an internship to gain more work experience.

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Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School  Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School  Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School

Same Project, Different Backgrounds

Despite their different study programs, Julia and Annemiek are working on the same project! Initially, they were going to do different projects. However, after some time they convinced their supervisors that they should work on one big project together. They are working on twelve lesson plans that will teach kids in primary schools more about vegetables, healthy eating, table manners and much more.

The project takes up most of their day. When they want to take a little break, there’s always plenty of things to do around the garden! They have a list of things they could do, such as feeding the earthworms, planting, harvesting (the harvest is used in school classes/kitchens), making compost, and more. This way, they are getting a nice break and some fresh air while also helping out around the garden. Normally, they start off with these tasks and go on with their project later in the morning.

That project certainly is huge. As explained, they are making 12 lesson plans that will kids about healthy eating in all kinds of ways. Since Urban Harvest works on setting up edible food gardens for schools, businesses, and individuals, the lesson plans are designed for schools with one of those gardens. Because of their different study backgrounds, they are able to complement each other nicely. While Annemiek was mostly focused on product development, Julia’s background was more on long-term effects. 

Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School  Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School  Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School

A Workshop about Vegetables

While Julia and Annemiek have been writing a lot, so far they haven’t been able to give a real workshop to see if their plans are as effective as they hoped. That’s what they’ll be doing today! I’m joining them at Isikhokelo Primary School in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town. They’ll be giving a workshop about vegetables to see if the kids would enjoy their lesson plans and learn something from them.

As we arrived at the primary school, we started setting up the class. The workshop should be outside near the garden, which is why we ended up using the Ping-Pong Table as a big desk! Julia and Annemiek started asking the kids what they already know about their veggies. What are their favorite veggies? Which ones can they recognize in the garden? How many veggies can they name altogether? It was challenging as the kids were used to speaking Xhosa – one of the local languages in Cape Town – but Julia and Annemiek managed. They were able to connect, despite the language barrier.

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Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School  Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School  Jullia Annemiek Urban Harvest Cape Town South Africa Isikhokelo Primary School

Then, they gave the kids a worksheet. You could tell that they really liked it, as they instantly started coloring, drawing, and writing their names on it. That worksheet showed many different types of vegetables and the names of all of the vegetables on the side. It was up to the kids to figure out the names of all of them. When they were done linking them, they could go into the garden and try to find the vegetables there. I was surprised to see that the children knew exactly where to find what! They must have been practicing… One of them gave me a tour around the garden and taught me about veggies that I didn’t even recognize.

The teacher was clearly very happy that the kids were learning more and more about the school’s garden and healthy eating. He said there is still plenty of work to do, but it is good that they are getting this education at a very young age. That’s how Food Security interns Julia and Annemiek know they are absolutely making an impact with the work that they are doing!

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