Charlestown, Nevis, November 1, 2019 (DBSKN) — A local Rastafari group that elected to introduce organic farming to primary school children had earlier this year, in its endeavours to have the farming area fenced to ward off roaming animals that sometimes destroyed crops, received support from the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Nevis-based One Love Rastafari Movement has in the last three years been teaching children of the St. James Primary School how to grow food organically using recycled vehicle tyres as the planting receptacles. According to the organisation’s Co-chair Mr Delroy Pinney, all the children have gravitated positively towards the venture.
An open day was organised at the school by the One Love Rastafari Movement on Tuesday, October 29, where children proudly showed to the visitors the work they have been doing. Invited for the occasion included the Department of Agriculture and Department of Education in the Nevis Island Administration, the Nevis branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN), and other stakeholders.
When in May this year Mrs Jean Alcendor-Browne, Development Bank’s Credit Risk Management Officer at the Nevis Branch presented the bank’s sponsorship cheque to Mr Pinney,
she had noted that as an institution that took the country’s food security seriously by working with farmers to ensure sustained food production, the bank’s management had applauded the organic food growing project at the St. James Primary School.
“Looking at the wider picture, what the children at the St. James Primary School here in Nevis are being taught bodes well with the Federation’s march towards attaining the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 2,” pointed out Mrs Alcendor-Browne. “This goal talks about ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition, and promoting sustainability in agriculture. We at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis salute these children.”
During the open day on Tuesday, October 29, Mr Pinney noted that each of the 37 pupils in the school had been given a tyre which was used as the planting receptacle. More tyres had been
provided for teachers and kitchen staff who wanted to catch up with the children in the growing of foodstuffs. He thanked the staff for supporting the project and making it work.
“Children are the ones who do the planting and also who do the maintenance,” explained Mr Pinney. “Some of these children would have planted seeds, nurtured the seeds, watch them germinate, take care of those plants, watch the flowers turn into fruits, watch the fruits develop, they were able to pick the fruits, take them to the kitchen and then have it on their lunch plate… that is an experience no textbook can teach.”
While at the school, Mrs Jean Alcendor-Browne of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis mingled with the pupils who showed her what they have been doing. Six-year-old Miss Junicia Wilkinson, who is a Grade One pupil, told the bank official that she enjoyed planting string beans, peas and sweet pepper.
Mr Floyd Liburd, Deputy Director in the Department of Agriculture noted the department was pleased to be associated with the organic farming project at the St. James Primary School, adding that it was the right thing to do. He said that the department had over the years worked with schools in terms of school gardens but which unfortunately fell by the wayside as far as the involvement of the children was concerned.
“I am hoping that Mr Pinney could start a revolution in terms of getting our young kids to get involved and really get down into the gardening aspect of things,” said Mr Liburd. “We want other schools to get involved and approach the Department of Agriculture so we could assist in terms of providing technical support and also some seedlings to give a jumpstart.”
School Meals Programme Coordinator in the Department of Education of the Nevis Island Administration, Mrs Renell Daniel, observed it was a happy feeling as the children would be eating what they planted, adding it was what they at the School Meals Programme want to promote.
“We want children to be aware of where their food comes from, and that food doesn’t just appear on the plate,” said Mrs Daniel. “I want to applaud Mr Pinney on behalf of the Department of Education as well as the Ministry of Education for this initiative.”