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Kiwanians plant fruit and vegetable gardens for Jamaican preschoolers

Julie Saetre | Dec 13, 2019

Garden variety

Kiwanians in Jamaica know that the country’s schools feed children’s minds and bodies. So when they conducted an analysis of community needs and discovered that some early childhood schools couldn’t always afford to buy healthy food for meals, they knew they had to help.

After further study, they determined that three schools had enough space to house a sustainable vegetable garden. That knowledge was all the Kiwanis Club of Greater Portmore and the Kiwanis Club of Central Portmore needed to jump into action. Their goal: to create a school garden for a Kiwanis One Day project.

After securing permission from and finalizing procedures with the board of Sabina Basic School, which serves children ages 3 to 6, and the City Municipality of Portmore, the gardening began. Volunteers included 18 Kiwanians, two prospective members, Sabina’s principal, two teachers and three young people from the community.

“We planted some of the seeds in containers two weeks before the project date,” says Nordia Campbell, president of the Greater Portmore club. “We purchased all the materials and tools needed and started the cutting and weeding of the area.”

After two days of work, the garden had been stocked with seeds/seedlings for tomatoes, onions, peppers, scallions, pak choi, cabbage and leafy greens. The Kiwanians also planted trees (apple, almond, sweetsop, Spanish lime and mango) around the school yard. Finally, they donated gardening tools to the school to help cultivate the harvest.

“The principal, teachers, Parent-Teacher Association board and the chair of the school board sent heartfelt thanks to us,” Campbell says.

The Kiwanians aren’t done, however. They plan to create gardens for the other two schools in the second and third quarters of the Kiwanis calendar.

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