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Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Desmond McKenzie, this morning (May 23) participated in the establishment of a food and vegetable garden at the Maxfield Park Children’s Home, which will provide a source of food for the children housed at the facility.
Among the produce planted were carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, banana, pepper, plantains, pumpkins, and yam.
The project, which is the Labour Day parish project for Kingston and St. Andrew, is in keeping with the national theme: ‘Eat what we grow, grow what we eat,’ and is aimed at encouraging Jamaicans to grow and consume more local produce, as a means of ensuring food security.
Senator McKenzie, in a brief address before the start of the workday, said that the children’s home has been a special project for the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) since 2003.
“The institution offers care and provides service for destitute children within the municipality and as a result, we thought that on a day like this, when we are planting to reap and to eat, that the Maxfield Park Children’s Home should encourage its children to practise the habit of ensuring and sustaining their food security,” he said.
The Mayor pointed out that a variety of fruit trees will also be planted at the home. He said that the project is intended to be a long-term one for the facility and measures have been implemented to ensure its sustainability.
“We are going to be employing two persons whose responsibility it is to maintain what we put down today, because it is going to be important for us to have continuity and the purpose of that is to ensure that it will be viable,” he informed, noting that the KSAC will continue to provide seedlings to replenish the garden.
He said he has instructed the Town Clerk and City Engineer to make the necessary arrangements to install a 5,000-gallon water tank that will service the garden in the event of a water shortage.
Member of Parliament for East Central St. Andrew, Dr. Peter Phillips, in endorsing the Labour Day focus, said that “the message of self-reliance is a message that has been constant throughout our modern history, and world realities are forcing us to recognize that .we can rely on our own capacities, and our own resources.”
Acting Manager of the Home, Carla Edie, noted that the project will help the children to understand how to nurture seeds and feel a sense of satisfaction when they consume what they have produced.
President of the St. Andrew Justices of the Peace and Lay Magistrates Association, Marigold Harding, said that the project is of great significance as “it is good for us to instill in them (children) at this early age that growing what you eat and eating what you grow, is important”.
The Maxfield Park Children’s Home is the oldest and largest children’s home in Jamaica, and currently caters for 140 children ranging from zero to 18 years of age. The facility is also home to some “special adults,” who are not able to function in society.