Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Community greenhouse farm reaps success

Published:Saturday | August 30, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Farm Manager Barbara Stewart reaps sweet peppers at the Sandals/Digicel Foundation's Greenhouse Farm in Robin's River, Westmoreland. - Contributed

WHITEHOUSE, Westmoreland:

The Sandals Foundation has reported that its greenhouse farm in Robin's River, Westmoreland, has successfully produced more than 800 pounds of sweet peppers since it became operational in March.

The greenhouse, which falls under the umbrella of Sandals Foundation's Project Sprout, is an early-childhood intervention that helps children achieve their developmental milestones. It introduces early-childhood specialists and social workers into the schools while facilitating parental involvement in children's education both at school and at home. It also facilitates infrastructural upgrades and provides teaching and learning aids, along with nutritional support.

The greenhouse component is supported by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Early Childhood Commission, the Ministry of Education, Digicel Foundation, and Sandals Resorts International.

Public-private partnerships

"The education sector and, in particular, the early-childhood division, needs public-private partnerships to secure the outcomes that are desired for the children who are being prepared for the primary level," said Sydney Henry, projects manager of the Sandals Foundation. "We continue to work with our partners to improve these outcomes."

Digicel Foundation's senior programme manager, community development and special projects, Kerry-Jo Lyn, said her organisation is committed to working in partnerships, which are imperative to national growth.

"The collaboration with Sandals Foundation epitomises corporate social responsibility, as well as public-private partnership. These partnerships are even more impactful in challenging times such as these," she said. "In this case, the greenhouses represent hope, innovation and sustainable investment in the education of the next generation," she said.

The greenhouse is the first of four units that will be located in Westmoreland and St Ann. It came into being after the Sandals Foundation included an agricultural component using greenhouse technology as part of its community outreach activities in a bid to enable the provision of nutritious meals to enable children to learn.

The Sandals Foundation provided 26,000 square feet of space for the establishment of four greenhouses with Digicel Foundation providing grant funding, which was also matched by the Sandals Foundation, to meet the financial requirements for the project.

The greenhouse in West-moreland will provide the school canteens at Culloden and Beeston Spring Early Childhood institutions with vegetables in the upcoming school year. The produce reaped to date has been directly supplied to Sandals Whitehouse with the proceeds going towards the schools' feeding programmes.