Any nation that wants to genuinely survive has to start with its foundational resources, says Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones.

He was speaking today at Ellerton Primary School, St. George where an educational garden designed in association with Slow Food Barbados (SFB) was showcased under its 12 Gardens in 12 Months campaign.

Pointing out that the land was one of those foundational resources, Minister Jones said it needed to be worked and tilled it in a very sustainable way.

???We can???t allow it to become degraded; we can???t allow it to be poisoned. In fact, land can be poisoned by what we do on the surface of the land,??? he stressed.

Lauding SFB???s effort, he said the garden was an important project for the school and the children and expressed the hope that the initiative would reach all primary and secondary schools, public and private.

He also urged other sponsors to come on board and be part of what he considered ???a re-culturing exercise??? to teach children that food does not begin in a supermarket but on the very soil on which they stood. Reminiscing on the past, Mr. Jones recalled how Barbadians grew produce, reaped them, fed their families and even sold some.

???This was an environment in which everybody did something to contribute to what went into their stomach. Sophisticated societies gradually moved away from that particular process and went into heavy commercial production, moving from the primary product to secondary and tertiary products that children now believe come from supermarkets.

???They believe that the supermarkets actually produce those things when in fact a supermarket is only a place where they are sold so that more and more persons can have access to them and therefore this effort brings it right to the children???s face,??? explained the Education Minister.

Pleased with the efforts of Ellerton Primary, he told students, ???I hope you are able to transfer what you learn both in the theoretical but more in the practical way??? it takes many hands, many minds and many people of good purpose to try to change the developmental agenda of the world.???

And, he reminded those gathered that Barbados had a very small land space with lots of land lying idle that needed to be put back into ???sensible??? agriculture.

???I am hoping that as we become more and more aware that more and more persons, particularly those who are entrepreneurial bent can see the land as a natural resource for the production of whatever can be produced,??? said Mr. Jones, a former educator.

Such persons, he added, could engage in open field and greenhouse agriculture, as well as other associated areas of agriculture with the important goal being to be able to feed their families and the nation.

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