John Gray garden project revitalised

A grow box garden project at John Gray High School has been given a makeover. 

Project Grow, the brainchild of Generali Worldwide, HSBC and Vigoro Nursery, in partnership with the school, will give some students the hands-on opportunity to learn the concept of nurturing their own organic and native garden by learning to grow their own food.  

The grow box project caters to students who are more vocationally inclined and tend to enjoy a practical gardening experience. Ten students under the tutelage of education coordinator Jane Sinclair are involved in the garden with the assistance of Vigoro’s operations manager Tom Balon. 

With his help, students are learning how to prepare the soil for planting, sow seeds, maintain a successful garden and hear about the benefits of growing their own produce while observing how food comes from the earth to the table. 

Students are hoping to get enough crops – such as bananas, pumpkins, peppers, okra and tomatoes – from the garden to sample and sell to the cooking classat the school.  

Some years ago, vocational teacher Ralph Manoosingh started the grow box and students were interested at the time. The garden was in full bloom with green peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes herbs and other vegetables and the students even won a number of trophies for their submission in various events and shows. But as time went by, it just faded in the background until the school’s project coordinator Cat Shields put in an application with Project Grow sponsors to have the programme started again. 

The garden, which is located in a tiny corner at the side of the school, has three raised beds packed with soil and heaps of space for vine bearing fruits and vegetables. With tiny green planting shovels and weeding tools, students turned the earth and inserted vegetables such as cucumber, peppers and okra as teachers and sponsor representatives looked on. 

So far, Project Grow has involved 16 local schools in the grow project. Marilyn Whittaker, Generali’s marketing manager, said they have been working with Vigoro and HSBC in the past to get additional schools involved in the programme. 

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