Joanne Rolt

Programme Manager, EduPlant and Trees for Homes, Food and Trees for Africa

Joanne Rolt never had a particular interest in
environmental issues. "I studied photography at Pretoria
Tech,� she says. But after fi nishing the course Rolt went on to
specialise in documentary photography. "I decided to follow
the organisation [Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA)] around for a
year and document their work.�
Once she was familiar with the organisation Rolt was
asked to help out with administration for a month. "It has
been a very long month,� says Rolt, who joined FTFA in
August 2004.
Now she manages two separate programmes for FTFA
� EduPlant and Trees for Homes. EduPlant is a nationwide
initiative to teach community educators "how to create and
maintain food gardens and how to make a success of it,�
says Rolt.
Between January and March of this year EduPlant held
72 workshops across the country, reaching more than 8 000
educators. The next phase, a programme supported by Absa,
Engen and Woolworths Trust, will have schools across the
country entering a competition to showcase their
food gardens.
"It's really about changing mindsets,� says Rolt, whose aim
is to "teach communities about climate change, sustainable
natural resource use and management, food production
and how to be resourceful.�
Trees for Homes identifi es a group of volunteers from
each community who are given a crash course in how
to educate their neighbours about planting and looking
after trees, to address climate change and improve the
environment. To date, Trees for Homes (together with
its sponsors and the help of provincial governments)
has planted more than 600 000 trees in disadvantaged
communities.
Although Rolt deals with a great deal of paperwork, she
has retained her passion for photography and is always keen
to "try to get out there to take pics� .
"Some of my best shots are from being in the
communities, planting trees. These pictures help to educate
and raise awareness within the communities as well as more
broadly through corporate reporting and FTFA website and
newsletters.�
Rolt was a fi nalist in this year's Johnny Walker Strides
green award and is the fi rst person to have won a bursary
from Intec to study carbon footprint analysis.
"I am so glad I stumbled upon this,� says Rolt. "I really f
eel I am making a difference in some way.�
�Lisa Steyn

Lunch spot: Rocket Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, Rivonia, Johannesburg