• Jeffrey Smith

St Lucia's Green Thumb

The LUCELEC Trust invested about $77,000 to build a greenhouse, and refurbish and outfit a kitchen at the Vieux-Fort Primary School.

The Vieux-Fort Primary School is now home to a brand new greenhouse and kitchen. The new facilities will help launch a feeding program at the school.

The LUCELEC Trust invested about $77,000 to build a greenhouse, an irrigation system, install rain water harvesting equipment and guttering. In addition, the ceiling, cupboards, sinks, doors and windows of the existing kitchen were replaced and the layout improved to facilitate food preparation, cooking and feeding. The school was also provided with new appliances including two stoves, one refrigerator and a chest freezer.

LUCELEC Managing Director Trevor Louisy said repeated requests for assistance from schools around the island prompted the LUCELEC Trust to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia.

“We care that no child should be in school without food or a decent meal to start the day. We care that students can be taught to grow the food they eat. We care that school canteens serve the healthiest food possible.  We care that students are given the best opportunity to succeed and as such their bodies and minds have to be well nourished. We trust that what we have started here can be replicated across all the schools on the island, one school, and one child at a time," said Louisy.

A very emotional Principal Francis Moonie spoke of the impact the project would have on his school and the community. He said there were many instances where students were unable to attend school because they had nothing to eat.

“I must thank LUCELEC for bringing joy to the hearts of our children and relief to our parents," he said. "This school feeding program will remove the burden from our parents and bring hope to our school. Our students will be fed and we will do better. Thank you LUCELEC for allowing us to experience a dream."

The Vieux-Fort Primary School was the only one in district six without a feeding program. The school had been trying to establish a feeding program since 2008.

The ministers for Education and Agriculture, and the Chairman of the Vieux Fort South Constituency Council expressed their gratitude. The efforts of LUCELEC’S School Feeding Committee representative, Bernardia Regis, were applauded by all partners and the LUCELEC Managing Director. Louisy also commended the efforts of LUCELEC’s staff at the administrative office in Vieux Fort for their efforts to start a breakfast program for the students paid for out of their own pockets.

The provision of the greenhouse garden and kitchen facilities at the Vieux-Fort Primary School is part of a pilot project aimed at strengthening the National School Feeding Program, and is part of the action plan for Saint Lucia’s Food and Nutrition Policy. It is spearheaded by the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Social Transformation and Education.

The School Feeding Project is also supported by the Government of Brazil and is part of Saint Lucia’s response to the “Zero Hunger Challenge” made by the Secretary General of the United Nations. The “Zero Hunger Challenge” was formally launched in Saint Lucia on Nov. 3, 2014.

The new facilities at the Vieux-Fort Primary School were officially handed over on Sep. 23.

Credit: St Lucia Ministry of Health and Wellness

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