Agricultural education at the Buckley’s Primary School received much needed support thanks to the Sandals Foundation which has recently erected a 45ft by 50ft fence and gate around an agricultural plot on the school compound which is farmed by students.
The project was executed as part of the Sandals Foundation Team Member Support Project, a programme which invites employees at Sandals and Beaches Resorts across the Caribbean to advocate for projects in their communities worthy of receiving funding. Through a competition that was run last year among Sandals Grande Antigua team members, resort butler Karen Grenado-Wong submitted the winning proposal to build the fence at the school.
Buckley’s Principal Monica Drew expressed her gratitude to both the Sandals Foundation and Grenado-Wong whose daughter attends the school, for making her wish for a fence a reality.
“We think the fence is very important and vital. It is an encouragement for the children and the agriculture programme as well,” Drew said. “It will take our programme further. We can have more banks in the gardens and get different kinds of slips growing.”
Drew noted that the general school compound is unfenced and they have had problems with pest and animals getting into the crop farm.
“The plants, especially like the lettuce, those are very soft. With that, we need the fence for protection because the entire compound is not fenced. Even people who might want to loiter and venture to pull up our plants. We needed that type of protection,” Drew said.
At present, the students plant corn, chive, cassava, cherry tomatoes, spinach, okra, sweet peppers and bananas. All 113 students at the school participate in agriculture using both textbook theory and practical experience. The students are also encouraged to compost organic waste.
Every year, The Sandals Foundation provides financial support to one project per resort as part of the Team Member Support Project. Once the project is approved by the foundation’s Advisory Board and Board of Directors, the foundation supports the employee with the execution of the project.
“This is important to us because our team members play an integral role in everything that we are able to do in communities across the region. The basis of these support projects are to enable our team members to give back to their communities and our financial backing allows them to do that,” Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation.
A surprised Grenado-Wong was overjoyed when she received news that her project was chosen as the 2017 winner. “I am just happy to support the school. I really believe in what they are doing and I see how excited the students, like my daughter, are to be learning and farming.”