Excited students of the Richfond Combined School and members of the First Citizens team this week harvested rich green heads of lettuce from the school’s newly acquired greenhouse just in time for lunch on Thursday March 12th.Lettuce is but one of the many crops being grown in the school’s greenhouse, funded by First Citizens Investment Services, as part of the company’s contribution to the island’s School Feeding Programme and the Zero Hunger Challenge which calls for collaboration from the public and private sector to help “eliminate hunger in our lifetimes”.
Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture were on hand to oversee the harvest of the crop which took about six weeks to fully bloom. Students and teachers, with assistance from the community’s agricultural extension officer, have been nurturing the garden in which they have also planted tomatoes, peppers and cabbage; with plans to expand crop variety to include cucumbers and other healthy crops.
The Richfond Combined School is one of ten schools selected as part of a pilot programme being spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the aim of which is to provide assistance by strengthening school gardens so the products cultivated can be used for the respective School Feeding Programmes.
First Citizens Investment Services Regional Manager Carole Eleuthere-Jn Marie was part of the team on hand to view the harvesting and expressed her company’s comfort with the sustainable nature of the programme.
“We are so proud to see this project, literally, bear fruit,” she said. “To see the students actually involved in the process is even more impressive as we seek to revive and support our agriculture industry. We see the planting and harvesting of healthy crops that will be used daily so we know that this greenhouse was a great investment that will benefit the generations that come through this school. We commend the teachers, students and the support team who deserve so much credit for managing this process and we are so humbled to be associated with such an initiative.”