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Executive Director of the Jamaica 4H Clubs, Lenworth Fulton, has stated that school gardening can supplement academic subjects such as botany, zoology, agriculture, and mathematics, thereby reaching students who learn better through practical forms.
Mr. Fulton was speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ today (Oct. 9), on the National School Gardening Programme, which will be officially launched at Jamaica College tomorrow (Oct.10), by Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, and Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, J. C. Hutchinson. The first Garden plot will be opened at that institution.
Another objective he stressed was the creation of new breeds of farmers and agricultural practitioners. “We want the students to see agriculture as a viable investment and we also want to get younger persons involved in agriculture, thereby reducing the average age of the farmer from 60, as it is at present,” Mr. Fulton said, adding, “we want to teach them entrepreneurship and efficacy”.
He further said that, “a survey carried out on some 3,800 4H clubbites revealed a considerable improvement in behaviour among those involved in programmes like school gardening. This augured well for strengthening of the programme in our schools.”
Importantly, he said, is the effectiveness of the programme in teaching young persons to identify with local produce, as this had fostered greater appreciation of and preference for local crops, while supporting the drive towards food security in light of rising prices.
The 4H Clubs, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, plan to establish gardens in 322 schools in the first year, increasing that number to 960 over a three year period. Work has already started in 95 schools with chicken rearing, apiculture, and distribution of thousands of packets of seeds.