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The CSIR International Convention Centre (ICC) recently moved its extensive herb garden to its front entrance to expand on the benefits of the garden for conference delegates and other visitors.

The herbs grown in the Centres herb garden contribute freshness and flavour to the delectable cuisine provided by the CSIR ICC kitchens for the 600+ diverse events held at the Centre annually. Using the garden instead of having herbs delivered contributes to minimising the Centres environmental impact and we would like our guests to be able to enjoy produce from the garden too says Bronwen Cadle de Ponte, Marketing & Sales Manager.

According to the CSIR ICC F&B Manager, Dieter Botha, The opportunity provided by having so many different herbs readily available allows us to be flexible with creating different dishes and flavour combinations to enhance our cuisine offering daily. Being able togrow our own fresh herbs right on ourdoorstep adds tremendous value to the passion our chefs have for cooking.

The new location of the herb garden at the Centres entrance adds to the charm of the natural surroundings of the CSIR ICC by its visual appeal and the enticing aromas, particularly in the mornings, for arriving delegates.

Signage has been placed in the gardens inviting delegates to take a pinch of herbs with them as they exit the building after a productive day of conferencing. The garden also contains lemon and lime trees and vegetables such as spinach, artichokes and rhubarb enhancing the delegates take-home experience.

The gardens were designed and planted by Beckers Landscaping and the organic herbs were provided by Healthy Living Herbs. Users of the gardens can find extensive advice on herb use and applications, on their website www.healthyliving-herbs.co.za. We believe in bringing natures goodness home, says Melanie Botha of Healthy Living Herbs, So this was an ideal project for us to support.

Servest Landscaping maintains the gardens and ensures that they are productive and updated according to season. Tony Steven-Jennings of Servest says our services range from planning and implementing landscapes to the maintenance of these facilities, including the recycling of organic waste. We are focussed on preserving and enhancing the environment naturally and this exciting project supports that.

The gardens are just one of the many greening initiatives the CSIR ICC has in place as means of minimising the carbon footprint and encourages clients to enjoy and appreciate natural resources as well as practise environmentally friendly event management.

Other initiatives include the Centres worm farm which produces compost from organic waste used in general garden maintenance around the building. The Centre also encourages its clients to green their events by following the practical examples in the Gauteng Green Events Guideline Handbook which can be downloaded from www.eventgreening.co.za.