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JIS News

Scores of Agricultural Science and Food and Nutrition teachers have been appointed National Ambassadors of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign for the schools they represent.

The educators were participants in the ‘A Conversation with the Minister’ forum, which was led by Portfolio Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., at Shortwood Teachers’ College in St. Andrew on Tuesday (November 29).

They represented various schools across all parishes and were given an opportunity to pose questions to the Minister regarding the role they can play in promoting the national campaign and influencing students.

Under Grow Smart, Eat Smart, efforts are made to drive resilience, advance sustainability, and improve efficiency in agriculture through, among other things, crop production and climate-smart practices and technologies.

“When you think about starting a campaign, to really get the energy into farming and fishing in our country, it must start with the teachers. There is no group more important [and] no group of influencers more critical than the teachers. Every single one of us… remembers a teacher that influenced us,” Mr. Charles said.

He told the teachers that they are “an important conduit of spreading the message of Grow Smart, Eat Smart”, adding that the Ministry is building an army of ambassadors, “so that Jamaica can know how to grow smart and how to eat smart”.

Through the Ambassadorship, it is hoped that the teachers will influence students to unlock their creativity, while promoting production with efficiency and the adoption of a market-driven approach by farmers.

Additionally, the newly minted Ambassadors are expected to help students understand how to integrate climate-smart technology, hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical farming, rooftop farming, and urban farming, among other practices.

Reiterating that the agriculture sector has recorded six consecutive quarters of growth, Mr. Charles maintained that “if agriculture is to continue to do as well as it is doing and even [better], a lot of it depends on you”.

For her part, Deputy Chief Education Officer for Curricula Support Service in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Dr. Clover Hamilton-Flowers, who represented Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, encouraged the teachers to embody what they will now be promoting.

“If we are going to be ambassadors, relative to the goals of this campaign, we have to ensure that we take that reflective look to see if, in fact, we are making use of those principles and practices that would be considered smartness, and also ensure that we are actually living the message that we oftentimes will communicate,” she urged.

Meanwhile, Jamaica 4-H Clubs Marketing and Public Relations Manager, Karelle McCormack, who provided further details of the Ambassadorship, indicated that “we will be reaching out to them [the teachers], in terms of their Grow Smart, Eat Smart projects”.

“Since they are now Ambassadors for their respective institutions, they are expected to implement or enhance what it is they already have or to implement new features,” she told JIS News.

Ms. McCormack said the conference was “quite successful”, adding that the teachers seemed “upbeat and enthused”.

‘A Conversation with the Minister’ was staged by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Youth.

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