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JIS News

The National School Garden Programme, which was re-launched by the Ministry of Agriculture on October 10, is well underway in Manchester.
The $108 million project, which is being administered by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, is seeking to establish some 1,000 school gardens across the island by 2011. It is part of Government’s efforts to encourage Jamaicans to plant more of what they eat to ensure national food security.
School Garden Representative for Manchester, Dean Collins, told JIS News that 23 schools were selected by the Parish Development Officer to be registered under phase one of the programme, but other institutions have expressed an interest in coming on board.
He said that because of the heightened interest in the project, he has visited 28 schools to date to look at projects and there are a number of other schools waiting to be assessed.
The Jamaica 4-H Clubs, he said, is heartened by the overwhelming response and will try to accommodate as many schools as possible.
Giving an update on the project to date, Mr. Collins informed that Cross Keys High, Frankfield Primary & Infant, and DeCarteret College have each received 40 layer birds, while 1,130 broiler birds were distributed to Cross Keys High, Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, Grove Town Primary and Frankfield Primary & Infant.
The eggs collected from the layer birds are being utilised in the schools’ breakfast programmes and sold to members of staff, while the meat from the broiler birds being used in the School Feeding Programme, and sold to members of staff as well.
Institutions that wish to be part of the National School Garden Programme, are required to submit a proposal form, after which an assessment will be carried out to ascertain the level of assistance needed. The assessment process will determine, among other things, the tools that are needed and examine the land area that will be used for the farming project.
Following the needs assessment, the school will be given tools, seeds, pesticides, fencing wire, et cetera.
The project will be monitored by the school garden representative for the parish, the 4-H Clubs leader, the principal, and the environmental club leader at the primary level and the agricultural science teacher, at the secondary institutions.
A combination of Government and non government organizations including Food for the Poor, have been providing assistance to the School Garden Programme.