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Apr 29, 2008

Teachers gear up for school gardening project

Story PictureFood prices are going up and while it’s easier to talk about backyard gardens than it is to plant them, one group of city folk were today laying the groundwork for the future. News Five’s Kendra Griffith has more.

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
This afternoon Belize primary school teachers and Health and Family Life District Officers were seeing brown as they got some hands-on experience with composting.

Steven White, Teacher, St. Mary’s Primary
“It’s just simply using your garbage and make it useful. It’s good that they use the manure from the horse, the grasses that you cut in your back yard. And they are showing us over that side how to make it useful.”

The educators and officers are attending a one-day workshop as part of the Urban Gardening Initiative spearheaded by QUADS. According to Curriculum Coordinator, Yvonne Codd, they want schools to put some green in their lesson plans.

Yvonne Codd, Curriculum Coordinator, QUADS
“The Ministry of Education under its Health and Family Life Education policy, we are hoping to make teachers more cognizant about urban gardening and gardens on a whole. You’re looking at it being used as a science lab. Children go out, they look at the plants from the seedling up to the time it’s bearing a fruit or a vegetable and they learn about it and it is integrated into other subject areas such as science, math.”

Steven White
“The curriculum is already integrated with gardening due to health and family life. So gardening is a part of the health, the food that you eat make you healthy and like that. So it’s already in there. It’s just for the teacher to implement it into the curriculum that they teach, the lesson.”

Yvonne Codd
“We give them seedlings, we give them some soil, we go to them and we show they how to do certain things. That is what we plan to do. We are only taking on six schools because we don’t want to fill our plate.”

QUADS is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization for the project.

Andrew Harrison, Belize District Agriculture Coordinator
“The students get involved in agriculture at an early stage and get to know more or less, the science of agriculture and know that they can feed themselves. Since about two years we started with school gardens in the northern districts and Belize districts. And this is just to reintroduce what was reaped in past giving the schools technical advice on how to grow their own produce with schools that have feeding programmes.”

QUADS has also built its own greenhouse to grow seedlings to give to the schools and to use in training teachers. But according to Codd, they don’t expect the schools to go that far.

Yvonne Codd
“Even if they think they don’t have adequate spacing, that they can overcome that. There is different ways to plant. You can do potted plants, in klim pans or something. You bore the bottom of the klim pans or you do the direct planting, like a little plot and do your stuff. You could have plants in what we consider hydroponics.”

To ensure success, QUADS plans to work along with the schools, monitoring their progress. Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

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