The Ellerton Primary School is making significant strides in its agriculture programme. On Friday, the school moved one step further as they hosted a rededication ceremony and unveiling of a new greenhouse.
The greenhouse, named the “Ashantio Sealy” Shade House carries the name of a former pupil who left an indelible mark on the school’s approach to agriculture but who passed away almost one decade ago.
On Friday, Minister of Housing, Land and Maintenance Dwight Sutherland, a former headboy of the school, spoke of the importance of youth developing green thumbs. This, he said is critical to working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)
“If we are truly aiming to become self-sufficient in Crop production and reach zero hunger by 2030, as a Sustainable Development Goal, we have to start within our schools and I applaud the Ellerton Primary, Ms Greendige and her team and Mr Haynes for recognizing that agriculture is so important,” he said.
The minister added that farming must be seen as a main hustle.
“We now have to stop seeing agriculture as a secondary job and route and a part-time activity. Agriculture provides careers for these young men and women.”
Technology, though, must be incorporated more in agriculture, Sutherland pointed out.
“We have to utilize technology and we have to recognize the importance of our young people growing their own food. We have to instill in them from a young age that gone are the days that you frown upon agriculture…it is now one of the frontiers that we as a government are pushing, to become self-sufficient,” he added.
Sutherland also had a word for other schools.
“Agricultural Science is a discipline and a way of life, it will take us out of the rut that we found ourselves in because of COVID-19, the hurricanes [and] the ash…It starts within the schools” he added.
Teacher in charge of the Ellerton’s 4-H Club Lisa Greenidge recalled the impact Ashantio left on an agricultural front where the school is concerned.
“It is clear that the seeds that he planted continue to flourish. Ashantio started gardening with two beds and after his departure it was fitting that we have a memorial about something that he loved. As a result, the Ashantio Sealy Green House was constructed,” she said, adding that it was later referred to as The Shade House.
“The Shade House Garden is a pesticide free and nearly organic space. The garden classroom is heavily based on a discovery learning approach where the teacher is the guide on the side and not the sage on the stage.
“The garden is a haven for many of our students, as nature is a kind teacher who is forgiving and patient,” she added.
Greendige reported that a variety of crops is grown in the small space including strawberries, raspberries, rainbow peppers, bananas and a range of vegetables.
Livestock, including rabbits, are also kept as part of the project.
Principal Andrew Haynes during his address thanked those sponsors present for their generous donations.
Chairman of the Barbados 4H Association, Alvin Romeo, said that the Ellerton 4-H Club displayed exemplary leadership with strong support from Principal Haynes.(MR)