School garden grows to new heights

| 24/06/2014

(CNS): The Year Two students at Cayman Prep are nearing the end of a very successful growing season. The students planted their crops in January, with assistance from the Department of Agriculture and despite battling unwanted chickens and green iguanas the garden has grown to new heights. Collecting their own rainwater and composting the kids are not only growing their own food but they are learning some valuable lessons that will stay with them for years to come. “This has been a pivotal year for our school’s organic vegetable garden,” explained Sarah Burton, the school’s garden coordinator.

“As momentum in the local food movement continues to grow, parents, staff, and students have come together to bring this beautiful space to an entirely new level.”

Burton, who is a teaching assistant, became involved with the project last year.  “There are so many lessons that we can learn from nature. It is my hope that these experiences stay with the children for the rest of their lives.”

When Tim Dailey donated a tumbling compost bin students then began bringing their food scraps from home to add to it.“Students are learning first hand that nature recycles everything, even banana peels and apple cores,” Dailey explained. “The students compost these items every day, and observe as they are broken down into organic compost, which they then use to fertilize the garden.  It’s a lesson in ecology.”

A few months later, the garden began attracting chickens and green iguanas, which were damaging the crops.  What was at first a frustration became an opportunity for the school’s PTA to jump in and help.  They funded the construction of a wire enclosure, which the maintenance team enthusiastically built over the school’s Easter break. The PTA also funded the purchase of a 65 gallon rain barrel.  The students are now using stored rainwater collected from the school’s roof to water the garden. 

“The benefits of the garden will enhance the education of Cayman Prep children for years to come, and hopefully will inspire healthy eating choices and a lifelong love of gardening,” said Maggie Garnett, president of the PTA stated, as she thanked Burton for overseeing the project.

The garden’s raised bed was constructed in 2011 when Cayman Prep was selected as a Project Grow School. Generali, Vigoro Nursery and HSBC are the main sponsors of Project Grow. Now enclosed and fertilized with organic compost, the Cayman Prep garden has been yielding six varieties of tomato, season peppers, basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, sunflowers, and spring onions.

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Category: Science and Nature

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Do the children learn about the evolution of plants or did they all appear by magic?  Just worried now that I have found out the school is run by fundamentalists.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Not to worry – the plans were all married before they pollinated.  

  2. pmilburn says:

    Keep up the good work you kids.This will do you well in the future when local agriculture becomes more and more needed.Kudos to the teachers and others that helped with this vital project.

  3. John says:

    This is what news stories should be.  I would rather read this than the other stories of violence and corruption that are typically on this site.  

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, stories like this sure do deflect the attention away from the sacking of a teacher for getting pregnant.

  4. Archie Buck Dem Up says:

    Wonderful idea , to have children understand how to grow , with this idea which hopefully will be emulated in other schoo it is hoped  that the politicos will ensure that our future generations will always have land suitable for farming.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The BEST news story – EVER!  So great to read this!  Keep up the hard work, Everyone!

  6. Anonymous says:

    If the plants are propagated out of wedlock do they have to move to another garden?

    • Anonymous says:

      Best comment ever if it weren't there to highlight the archaic position the school took recently that has left almost certain irreperable damage to the school, even if they fail to see it in their blundered view…  So many parents remain completely dissatisfied, and sadly, disheartened, by the board's acts.  The school may never realize or accept and acknowledge the damage the board did.  But the parents and teachers do know, and in my view as a long time Caymanian supporter of prep, the damage remains until they suck it up, admit their fault, dismiss the relevant parties and move the …. Into the 21st century…

      as a parent of children of prep, I will do everything to continue to enrich my kids' education, but nothing to benefit the school directly…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well done. Now, if there isn’t already, I would love to see our public schools just as involved. It just seems unfair that those who can’t afford these types of tuituions have to opt for a drawing of a garden instead. Shame. Cayman government needs to step up and get the schools more interesting again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, PPM was too busy focusing on infrastructure instead of the curriculum.


    • Savannah Resident says:

      George Town Primary School also has a greenary which the students take care of.  Not sure about the other government schools. 

    • Anonymous says:

      All schools can partake in Project Grow

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sarah Burton, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is great!I love to read stories like this one.