SCHOOL FIELD TRIP HIGHLIGHTS AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY Friday 21st October 2011
Much emphasis was placed on environmental and agricultural sustainability, Thursdays when just over twenty students from the Trinity Academy School participated in a field trip being planned part of the World Food Day week –long activities, between October 16 -26.
The students gathered around the terracing on the slope, as Mr. Bailey pointed to the layers of soil along the wall of dirt.
“Agriculture is related to every aspect of life, how it is related to biology? It is the study of living lings, plants are living things.... therefore, and whatever career path that you are going to take agriculture is directly related.”
"We have to have people in various jobs with the skill of being able to look at the soil, describe its characteristics and use where it is in the landscape to interpret how do we best use that soil," he told the students.
Besides the importance of soil in the areas of crop growth, Mr. Bailey emphasized the vital role that soil plays for water that works its way into and through the ground, as a filter.
He explained the relationship between the colours of the soil layers, as the students view the contour on the terrace. "All, you have to do is look at the colour and you can tell a whole lot about the properties of those soils," he said.
Upper parts of the soil are dark where roots and organic matter are concentrated. The red or orange soil layers have higher concentrations of iron that have been exposed to oxygen. If, the soil is saturated with water and the oxygen is depleted, the soluble iron floats away and a grey colour replaces the orange.
The students spent more than two hours travelling across the Bendals Agricultural District, during which time they visited the Alvin Christian’s Farm. Mr. Christian took the students on motorized tour in his tractor through his tree –crops orchard, which boasts breadfruit, mangoes, coconut and citrus. His farm is divided by one of the largest fresh water source in Antigua, the Body Ponds.
Mr. Christian spoke to the students about the production and marketing aspects of Agriculture.
The next stop was at the Susie’s Hot Sauce in McKinnon. Ms. Rosie McMaster, gave the student a first –hand experience of the 'cottage industry' story, established in 1960 by Antiguan born and bred, Susannah Tonge. Susie or 'Aunt Susie' as she is affectionately known was famous for constantly experimenting with new recipes and testing the results on friends and family.
Ms. McMaster, an agro –processor demonstrated to the students how the peppers are made. Students were able to assist in the process, after which they received tastings of the various flavors, among them is the award –winning original flavour which was created in the same kitchen the students visited. Other sauce flavours produced are Calypso, Tear Drops, Creole, Burning Desire, Pineapple Pleasure, Papaya Delight, Tamarind Tango, Mango Mandingo and Fruit Pepper Jellies.
The lone teacher on the trip Mrs. Paula James –Roberts said “the trip was very enlightening and quite an eye –opener …what brought it all together was seeing how aspects of Agriculture meshes into geography and the diversity of it all.”
Student Keifer Hector also described the trip as “intriguing”. Meanwhile, over at the Minoah Magnet Academy as part of the World Food Day and the Ministry’s Eat Safely, Buy Local Campaign, students from various classes wore as part of their uniform the Food & Agriculture Organization branded T-Shirts as part of their uniform.
The T-shirt depicts the slogan, “Eat Safely”, additionally the slogan imprinted on the shirts encourages hygienic food practices, and the steps involved in food safety.
The day was also declared a water day where no juice was allowed in the lunch boxes a move toward encouraging students to consume more water.
Also, on the October 20th, the bee production was put into focus a documentary was produced which will be shown throughout the entire-school system.
On Friday (October 21), the World Food Day Committee will be donating agriculture produce to the Fiennes Institute and Clareview Psychiatric Hospital at 11:45 .a.m., at the Ministry’s Headquarters.
Saturday is the Farmers’ Market and a Knowledge Attitude Perception Study will be conducted throughout the day, and the remaining portion of the month to determine the barriers to buying local. For further information on the KAP, please visit www.agricultureantiguabarbuda.com.
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