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Sandals Foundation/ CHHS Partner To Install First School Hydroponics Farming System


Mario Smith (right), Extension Officer in the Department of Agriculture explains the hydroponics process to (from right) Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor; Heidi Clarke Executive Director at Sandals Foundation; Shanta Seymour, Principal of the Clement Howell High School; and Elisann Delancy, Curriculum Development Officer at the Ministry of Education

With a country’s capacity to grow its own food strongly aligned to its development and national security, the Sandals Foundation has joined the Ministry of Education and the Department of Agriculture on its food security programme, ‘Let It Grow’, which will see the establishment of farms at all public and private schools in the Turks and Caicos Islands.


On Tuesday, August 29, Government officials and private sector representatives joined administrators at the Clement Howell High School as they launched the first school hydroponics system that will provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge that will foster not only an interest in agriculture but position the sector as a feasible alternative career choice.


“The Department of Education within the Ministry of Education is embarking on a project that seeks to establish farms in all public and private schools,” said Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor. “This interdisciplinary approach will help students learn how to produce their food and care for animals through farming while considering business opportunities in the field of Agriculture Science. Students will learn how to become self- sufficient, self-reliant, and value team and collaborative work.”


Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation expressed delight at the newly established hydroponics system noting, “For the past few years, the Sandals Foundation has doubled down on its efforts to build the capacity of key community and educational organisations to grow more of their own food. This hydroponics system we hope will allow for more fresh fruits and vegetables for the school cafeteria while also having students learn new techniques while recognizing the value and reward of growing what they eat.”


Hydroponics farming technique provides for the growing of plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. The technology is especially advantageous in Turks and Caicos where soil types vary, significantly limiting produce output.


Shanta Seymour, Principal at the Clement Howell High School, says the hydroponics serve to lift the curriculum offering of the institution as Agricultural Sciences can be taught with a practical component. “We are grateful for the partnership from Sandals Foundation, the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the ministry of education. Public and private partnership within the educational landscape is inevitable and this event today is testament of the positive fruits that can be produced from this project which started with just a dream.”


The Clement Howell High hydroponics technology forms part of a wider investment of the Sandals Foundation-which includes the provision of irrigation systems, fertilizer, seed, soil and other agricultural input across 17 primary and high schools. The overall agricultural infrastructure is valued at some US $23,000 and was made possible through part support of the philanthropic organisation’s partner - Coca Cola Latin America.


Twelve of the targeted 17 schools have already received support through Sandals Foundation including Thelma Lightbourne Primary, Shining Star Preparatory, and Louise Garland Thomas High School which all received irrigation systems; Iris Stubbs Primary and Marjorie Basden High schools which have received soil; and H.J. Robinson High, and Charles Hubert James Primary which have both received fertilizer.



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