A George Town preschool is marking one year of growing healthy food options in its school vegetable garden.
CITCO, a local fund administrator, bank and corporate and trust manager established the garden at the NCVO’s Miss Nadine’s Pre-School in 2016 in honor of Earth Day, with the intention of introducing the young students to sustainable living and healthy food options, a press release states. A year later, produce from the garden has been used in school’s kitchen and the company is currently working on expanding the garden with the installation of an irrigation system and new grow boxes.
“To date, the garden has produced tomatoes, basil, thyme, blueberries, scallions, sweet peppers, okra, lettuce, and mint for use by the school,” the release states, noting school volunteers and staff also try to incorporate the garden into student activities such as reading, making tea, taste testing, and play.
“By encouraging children to grow produce we hope to ‘sow the seed’ in their minds about the many benefits of gardening, which can become the foundation of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle,” said regular volunteer Julie Belton.
“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
Ms. Belton also commented that growing produce free of artificial fertilizers and pesticides can not only help save money, it also helps prevent many illnesses associated with poor diet and a depleted food system devoid of nutrition and laden with toxic chemicals.
CITCO recently launched a global sustainable health initiative which seeks to encourage healthy living for employees and increased community involvement, a goal which is complimented by local projects such as these.
“CITCO’s community service committee is intended to support local initiatives that assist the youth, elderly, and vulnerable within our community,” said volunteer Gabriella Hernandez.
“It is also important that staff from the company and the school are personally engaged and visits to the garden and the students are ongoing. It is a project that requires time and care to ensure viability and long term success. The progress to date has been due to the involvement of the school and company staff and community partners for which we are very grateful.”
The release states the company hopes that the garden will increase productivity to ensure the preschool has access to healthy, clean produce for use by students and staff, which could reduce overall food costs for the charity run organization.
CITCO also hopes to build on this project and partner with other organizations to expand the program to other schools.