Environmental Education & Community Planting Days with Greenpop in Zambia

This is the second post in a three-part feature about the Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action, by Matthew Koehorst (read the introduction)

Environmental Education:

Greenpop runs fun and engaging environmental education experiences for children in schools in Livingstone. In 2016, the program focussed on three key areas- Seed planting, waste management and tree planting. The school activation days are opportunities for learners and volunteers to learn together in a non-traditional learning model while having fun and connecting with different cultures. This year Greenpop worked with 5 schools- making hundreds of self-watering seed germinators and eco-bricks and planting over 50 fruit and indigenous trees.

The author, giving a demonstration on roots and their role in healthy happy plants at Mwandi Community School, Livingstone


Self-watering containers demonstrate upcycling and appropriate, simple technologies for low maintenance seed germination.

Tree planting remains an important part of the program, with learners getting an opportunity to leave a green legacy in their schools

Community Planting Days:

Greenpop has worked with a local farming cooperative called Sons of Thunder for the past 5 years and has planted thousands of trees in orchards with the farmers since then. They have also spent 3 years planting out a food forest inspired community forest garden that draws on the principles of forest ecology to create an abundant and largely low maintenance ecosystem of food producing plants. This food forest has done exceptionally well and inspired further implementation at six of the Sons of Thunder villages this year.

Farmers and Festival of Action Participants banded together twice a week to work on planting a variety of fruiting trees, indigenous trees, beneficial shrubs, strawberry patches and vegetable beds using permaculture and food forest principles for the design and implementation of the system. The process was hard work yet rewarding with 40 people working for 8 hours a week on implementing the pre-determined design. A large part of the process is co-learning, with many participants commenting on how much they learned from the farmers in terms of work ethic, digging and land work skills, and humility. For the farmers, the experience is an opportunity to improve their village environment, meet other people and learn different approaches to food production along the way.

Community planting events aim to give communities the skills, knowledge and resources needed to diversify their nutrition and improve access to healthy foods

The women of Zambia are powerful, hardworking and dedicated to their families wellbeing- working with them is always inspiring and educational

Photos by Lee-Ann Olwage

About Matthew Koehorst

Matthew Koehorst is a human doing passionate about reconnecting people with nature through education, experimentation and sharing of information. His project Six Kingdoms focuses on understanding how we can improve our relationship with earth through practical projects and learning experiences. For more on his work visit his instagram account @six_kingdoms or contact him at matthew@sixkingdoms.org