Green fingers students needed for schoolyard gardens

| 20/04/2011

(CNS): A new project is taking ‘root’ in the community in an effort to help educate children about food and nutrition. Project Grow is the brainchild of insurance firm Generali Worldwide, HSBC Bank (Cayman) Limited and Vigoro Nursery, who have teamed up to offer local schools the chance to start growing their own food on campus with the introduction of schoolyard gardens. The goal, organizers said, is to help young people connect the food they eat with its production. The school garden pilot project first started with John Gray High School in 2009 but it is now being offered to all schools in the Cayman Islands.

“Over the last few decades food has become more and more industrialized, packaged and processed. Much of this processed food is unhealthy and causing problems to our overall well-being and the well-being of the planet,” said the organisers. “As a society we have lost our connection with food and its origin. Project Grow aims to repair this connection using food through sustainable agriculture as a vehicle to educate children about healthy foods and nutrition.”

With dedicated teachers and students, the development and maintenance of sustainable schoolyard gardens will go some way to creating an appreciation for the need to develop healthier eating habits, the organizers say.

In order to take part in the project the schools will need an open area in which a grow box can fit or a patch of land that can be used and a dedicated faculty and student body to develop and maintain the garden throughout the 2011-2012 school year. Schools will be chosen based on their willingness and ability to support the programme for the long-term.

“Generali Worldwide is really excited to see Project Grow properly launched with partners HSBC Cayman and Vigoro Nursery”, said Maureen Cubbon, Marketing and Health & Wellness Manager for Generali Worldwide. “Health and wellness for the community has always been a focus for Generali Worldwide and we are really pleased to be a part of such a unique and important initiative.”

Project Grow will help children learn the principles of gardening. The hands-on experience helps familiarize children with the many relationships and cycles within nature providing a link to healthy eating and nutritional choices. The gardening experience itself brings other health benefits like exercise, time spent outdoors in the fresh air and a sense of well being. It also offers new and exciting ways to address nutrition.

Tom Balon of Vigoro Nursery says it is exciting to see projects of this nature materialize. “There can be so many benefits from them. Awareness of health and lifestyle is always important, and gardening, especially edibles can be very rewarding in all aspects of well-being. We are very excited at Vigoro Nursery and look forward to being a part of this exciting project,” he added.

HSBC Cayman and Generali Worldwide will support the program by providing the grow boxes, soil and other needed equipment along with a tailored approach to a sustainable garden plan for the chosen school. Vigoro Nursery will provide the needed expertise and direction for growing and maintaining the school garden throughout the year.

“Agriculture is an important part of the Cayman Islands and Project Grow uses an “out of the box” approach to engage children so that they can understand the direct relationship between the food on their plate and the impact on the environment,” added Gonzalo Jalles, HSBC Cayman CEO, “We are honored to become part of such an important project.”

Project Grow is making an “open call” to all schools in the Cayman Islands and is accepting applications for the September 2011 school year. For those who are interested in becoming a part of the programme email: for an application form, applications are open until 20 May.

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  1. James L Ebanks says:

    Can we implement from PRE SCHOOL up to teach kids healthier eating habits from younger.

    Raise them up properly from early and they will not depart from it

  2. James L Ebanks says:

    Shouldnt this be mandatory?

    The health benefits are priceless

  3. Animaliberator says:

    It would even be better or best I dare say if all would become vegetarians as a result of this. Nonetheless, good job guys!! (Mmm, let’s see how many LOL’s or thumbs down I’m getting on this one ha)

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Project Grow it is now being offered to all schools in the Cayman Islands.”

    excellent! is there a limit on the number of schools that will be doing this with HSBC?

    article doesnt say how many.

    Would like it to be done for all schools instead of just 5 or so

    Pretty please?!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good to hear about the project that has far reaching consequences

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nicely done: our kids eat too much processed food and watch tv/video games — these health conscious programmes will go some way to reducing obesity and healthy problems which causes less strain on medical services/ health insurance down the road

  7. MonkeySee says:

    Awesome program! Hope all the schools (especially primary) take it up and get as many students involved as possible!