This program supports gardens in schools in Comayagua, situated in a large agricultural valley in central Honduras. These schools are rural and most parents work as farm labourers.
The program provides for start-up costs for each school and employs a part-time agricultural engineer to teach students and oversee the gardens. Students acquire knowledge and develop skills in areas such as soil preparation, installation of irrigation systems, fertilization of crops, plant health, environmental sustainability and agribusiness administration.
Schools are selected based on the desire of the school, the parents and the community to participate. Gardens are expected to produce three crops per year, and be sustained for a minimum of 3 years. As of 2019, five gardens have been started and all are still thriving. Food grown is used in school lunch programs and some is sold in the community to pay for seeds and supplies for the next crop.
As a result of the success of one garden in a primary school at the Basic Education Center Gracias a Dios, a 3 year high school program has been started there by the Department of Education. Students will focus their studies on agriculture with a goal of getting better jobs in the industry.
A Rotary Foundation grant helped fund start up costs to purchase tools, equipment and seeds for the new garden the students will run. The above two photos are of equipment delivered to the new school.
The School Garden program was the brain-child of Darrell Jolly of the Brentwood Bay Rotary Club. Start up costs for each garden are about $2,000 and the benefits far exceeded expectations. The success of one garden has led to another, and another, and to the application of a Rotary Grant to build on the program.