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As the nation commemorates National Children’s Day today (May 21), the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) launched new Backyard Vegetable Gardens in Residential Childcare Facilities (RCCFs).
The launch took place at The Nest Children’s Home located on the grounds of the Salvation Army on Manning’s Hill Road, where that home received the first set of packages to start their own vegetable garden.
This launch forms part of the organisation’s 2021 Child Month activities, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, with support from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).
According to Chief Executive Officer, CPFSA, Rosalee Gage-Grey, the initiative will first take place in 11 homes between May and December 2021, and the other homes islandwide will get their own gardens starting in 2022, until all 52 residential childcare facilities islandwide have their own vegetable gardens.
The other 10 homes that will soon receive vegetable gardens are Homestead Place of Safety in St. Andrew; Manning Child Care Facility in St. Elizabeth; Mount Zion of Refuge and Sunbeam Boys’ Home in St. Catherine; Granville Child Care Facility in Trelawny; Glenhope Nursery in Kingston; Gift of Hope and Mount Olivet Boys’ Home in Manchester; Garland Hall and Montego Bay Community Home for Girls, in St. James.
“This is just the start. I think that we have been encouraging the homes to do some sustainability plan in terms of food, and so this is a good start,” Mrs. Gage-Grey told JIS News.
For his part, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, said it is critical to have sustainable projects as these at homes islandwide.
“I think the earlier we can get our children to appreciate the concept of food security, how they get their food, the fact that it is related to agriculture and fisheries, I think that will encourage them to appreciate what our farmers do,” he said.
Also present was the State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, who reiterated the importance of this initiative.
“A simple thing of having a child plant a vegetable has a very good therapeutic impact on that child, and that’s something we are very appreciative of, and we want to do more of it,” he told JIS News.