Throwing his support behind Aquinas College’s greenhouse project, the Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville reaffirmed a national holistic approach to well-being.
It was on Thursday, April 7, 2022 – World Health Day — held under the theme, “Our Planet, Our Health,” that the minister saw firsthand, the innovation on the school grounds on Gladstone Road. Also present at the special ceremony were Leonardo Lightbourne, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs; the Most Rev. Patrick Pinder, Catholic Archbishop of Nassau; and Claudette Rolle, Director of Catholic Education, who were welcomed by the school’s principal, Shona Knowles, staff and students.
Dr. Darville referred to the Davis Administration’s Blueprint for Change, which speaks to revolutionizing healthcare, education, the green economy, providing food security and agribusiness with young people as partners in these initiatives. He pointed out that The Bahamas, per capita, has one of the highest rates of non-communicable diseases (NDCs) and that the aim is not only to treat but also prevent.
“We are about to launch an aggressive programme regarding wellness,” Dr. Darville said, adding that it will entail exercise, nutrition, how to balance lives and reduce cost of healthcare services. He also noted that the COVID-19 Pandemic demonstrated challenges in the country’s healthcare system. However, the country’s learning to feed itself and Bahamians having access to land to grow food are important measures toward wellness. In this vein, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in partnership with Agriculture, will implement a greenhouse project in schools throughout the country.
“Greenhouse is just the beginning,” said Dr. Darville. “We intend to go throughout the country where students can gain knowledge to grow
nutritious food for their families.”
He said he was delighted that Aquinas College, which sits on one of the “most beautiful and environmentally friend spaces”, has also incorporated greenhouse technology in its curriculum to grow fruit and vegetables, and as a part of the school’s environmental club.
The Bahamas imports an estimated 90 percent of what it consumes: the aim is to reduce the food import bill.
It is noteworthy that most farmers are over the age of 60. Parliamentary Secretary Lightbourne too acknowledged that greenhouses
at all schools can attract young people in the farming industry, and the country can curb the amount of food it imports. Aquinas College also boasts of other technologies that are environment- friendly, and learning tools, for students in green technology.
Archbishop Pinder views the greenhouse technology as an investment in the future, which will pay dividends on a sustainable basis. And Principal Knowles while applauding the hard work of all involved said it was a dream come through for the institution.
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