Fri | Sep 21, 2018

FLOW's School Garden Project important life lesson in self-sustainability - VP

Published:Saturday | April 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Ruel Reid (centre), minister of education, youth and information, is assisted by Aneika Aris (left), student at Dupont Primary; and Tessanne Linton (second left), head girl at Elleston Primary School, while he weeded a callaloo bed at the Elleston Primary School. Looking on are Errol K. Miller (right), executive chairman, FLOW Foundation; and Karelle McCormack (second right), public relations and marketing manager, Jamaica 4-H Clubs. Occasion was the official launch of the Urban School Garden Project.

Lisa Bailey, vice-principal of the Mountain View Primary School, has hailed the recently launched School Garden Project as an important life lesson in self-sustainability and community development. Yesterday, FLOW Foundation launched the initiative in conjunction with the Jamaica 4-H Clubs.

Five primary schools - Dupont, Mountain View, Elletson, Clan Carthy, and George Headley - are in line to participate in the first phase of the $500,000 project that will result in the determined 'best school' taking home a trophy for its exploits at the end of reaping.

"Everyone at school is excited about this, especially the children. I think it's a wonderful idea and I am sure that it will educate both our students and teachers alike," said Bailey.

"This initiative is reinforcing the idea to grow what we eat and eat what we grow," said Bailey. "However, there's a level of excitement - when you plant something you want to taste it because you are part of it. That's how these students will look at this, as a valuable part of their learning experience," she added.

Education Minister Ruel Reid endorsed the initiative and called on students and their teachers to make the best use of the gardens.

"This project is in line with the ministry's nutrition policy," the minister noted. He said that approximately 50 per cent of primary school children are on the PATH programme and that the vegetable garden project will be able to support schools in the urban space, while helping to feed students and take pressure of the schools to source food items at exorbitant costs.

Meanwhile, FLOW Foundation Executive Chairman Errol Miller told The Gleaner that the urban school garden project was conceptualised in part to draw attention to create greener spaces in an "otherwise concrete jungle".

"What we are doing is to plant some gardens in urban primary schools. When you look around, it is a lot of concrete that you'll see. Most of these children would never be exposed to things like farming or anything allied to agriculture," Miller said.