March 24, 2023

School Garden Programme

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Cayman: National School Garden Programme Takes Root

Cayman: National School Garden Programme Takes Root

Grand Cayman – Several public schools across the Cayman Islands are currently participating in the National School Garden Programme, funded by the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure.

The programme aims to stimulate a greater interest in agriculture among students in primary and secondary institutions and increase the involvement of youth in the sector. Some of the schools involved in the programme include Joanna Clarke Primary, Edna Moyle Primary, Creek and Spot Bay Primary and Layman Scott High.

Minister of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure Hon. Jay Ebanks said he hoped that the programme will in the long term influence students to pursue agricultural science as a viable career option. “The Ministry team designed a coherent school garden programme that will provide funding in a structured manner to directly expose over 200 of our students to agriculture”, he stated.

A look inside JCPS nursery. The institution is an active participant in the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure’s National School Garden Programme.

Minister Ebanks further commented, “The programme aligns well with government’s broad strategic outcomes to bolster food security, build climate change resilience and sustainable development. We have the support of the Ministry of Education, other agencies and hope to expand into public-private sector partnerships. With the average age of local farmers estimated to be 55 years, it is critical we get our youth involved in this important sector”.

Principal of Joanna Clarke Primary School Delton Pedley stated that the programme helps the students appreciate and understand the importance of food security in the Cayman Islands.” The School Gardening Programme is enhancing our students’ learning experiences, promoting teamwork and responsibility and most importantly, helping students to access some STEM-focused and biodiversity-related learning opportunities as well as increasing their understanding of the importance of food security,” he highlighted.

Teacher and School Gardening Team Lead at the school, Natasha Powell-Facey emphasised that among other things, “the students learn about plants in an engaging way, learn about human responsibility and explore actions intended to increase environmental awareness in and out of school”.

Institutions that are recipients of grants under the National School Garden Programme are required to provide a progress report that includes the level of student participation.

Public schools interested in participating in the programme can apply to the Ministry of Planning, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure via email at [email protected]. It is anticipated that the National School Garden Programme will be expanded to private schools that indicate an interest in becoming involved.

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