Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Future food

The future is not in the schoolbags. It is not in the laptops. The future is in the hearts and minds and hands of young people like these all over Trinidad and Tobago. It's not in the bright children. Nor is it not in the "duncy form one students." It is in the trust and bright hope and eagerness to be taught that is here to be nurtured, and especially here in children who have made the Atlantic Seeds of Hope experiment a success in southwest Trinidad.

Children from Rancho Quemado show off their vegetable seedlings
Just look at the pride with which they prepare the plants which will represent their contribution to World Food Day in mid October. It is part of the tradition among the 4Hers to give away food plants and vegetable seedlings at this time - their thanksgiving gesture for the bounty they receive when they learn to germinate seeds, see them grow, flower and fruit, and care for home and school gardens.

Recently, they have also learned the rudiments of permaculture: of growing complementary plants to provide food for humans as well as other species - birds, wildlife, even insects - while maintaining the richness and integrity of the soil. They learned the importance of keeping waterways clean, to nourish the earth and their own communities. They learned the value of re-using, re-cycling and reducing the impact of their own lives upon the earth. They understand the carbon cycle and how every tree planted makes a contribution to offset what we produce through industry and daily living. And in the cycles of seasons - wet and dry, flowering, fruiting and returning to seed - they are acclimatised to growing, attuned to patience, and intuit that loving and caring produce the best and sweetest fruit.

A tree planting festival with the children of Salazar Trace
Here is the future we cultivate with "seeds of hope:" farmers, scientists, sportsmen, doctors, teachers, fathers, mothers, engineers, the kind of leaders who will ensure that there is not just a bright future, but that there is food.

Bodi seedlings

Butter stick cassava

Cucumber seedlings
Learning to plant leads to reaping and cooking and eating...
(Photos by Jenny Ramjattan, coordinator of 4H in southwest Trinidad)

3 comments:

  1. This looks like a great programme! I belonged to two 4H clubs as a child, the 4H Sewing Club, and the 4H Beef club. Both were very practical in nature and they taught skills! We actually got to 'do' something!

    So many programmes for children, especially in schools, have nothing for the children to actually 'do'. And that is the age where children are so anxious to do and to act.

    I agree with your article completely!

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  2. Yes, I also think that it's a great incentive for the children, it makes them aware of one of the important things in life,...which in a way has a been a bit forgotten....taken over by the 'easy way', like technology, mobile, etc.

    That's why I think at school , they should also be taught things like cooking, sewing, dancing, music appreciation......I remember at Bishop's we had these classes, and I consider myself lucky to be at school at that time.

    Maybe things would go back to that,....I hope so anyway........

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  3. Bunty reminds us that the fertility of the soil is a gift that we should cherish: "And never forget that it is the soil of our islands that makes this all possible. We have to nurture and preserve it and really get to know it, so that when we are gone, the next generation can take it over."

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