In the middle of the wide, open space of a school yard kids are now sowing and growing vegetables and healing herbs. School gardens teach children responsibility, a caring for nature, and an understanding of agriculture, science, relationships, and life processes.
IxChel tropical Research Centre has launched a new program, The Grow to Learn Garden, at the Santa Elena Primary School, the largest grammar school in the Cayo District of Belize.
We started this program in November, 2012 with an 18 x 10 plot of land to grow herbs and vegetables. This “garden classroom”, will give students an understanding of how the local food system works and serves as a link to local farmers, and others involved in agriculture. Also growing herbs and vegetables in the same plot will educate the children about plants that serve as medicine and food. The kids in Ms Fernandez’ 6th Grade Class are in charge of weeding, watering and overall protecting the plants, of course with the supervision of their class teacher and IxChel’s project coordinator, Ms Salome Oliver. The children planted an herb garden with lemon grass, oregano, basil, aloe vera, rue, mint, life everlasting and sorosi. The vegetable section has chives, cilantro, lettuce, cucumbers, chilis,Chinese cabbage, and two wild vegetables – amaranth greens and purslane. I can still hear their shouts of joy as they dug holes and placed the little baby plants into the ground….”I PLANT! I PLANT!”
This week we have added a flower garden to surround the little fenced-in plot. Next week we will plant three kid-friendly fruit trees – mangoes, star fruit and golden plums.
Thanks to the donations from Arvigo Institute courses and attendees we are able to carry on these valuable, innovative programs in a small third world country like Belize. Here, a little bit goes a long way. So, thanks to the Self-Care teachers, Professional Care Teachers, Spiritual Healing Teachers and all those who generously donated to Ix Chel Tropical Research Centre’s educational programs.
Thanks to Dr. Greg Shropshire for making it all possible. Thanks to Omar Tut and his crew of labourers who prepared the plot, built the fence, dumped that beautiful black soil and are right now delivering mulch to the school garden.
Ix Chel continues to find positive ways to encourage our kids to do the right thing in society.