After completing a six-week course to learn the fundamentals of gardening to grow their own food at home, Public Works Minister Lieutenant Colonel David Burch presented the recent graduates of the fifth ‘Grow! Eat! $ave!’ programme with certificates.

The presentation, made last week, is part of an ongoing “initiative of Nutrition Services of the Department of Health with the aim of encouraging the public to eat more vegetables, teach sustainable nutrition and at the same time save money”, and is offered to the public free of charge.

Now that they have completed the workshop, they are “able to sign up for the advance class where they are assigned a plot of land and grow and maintain their own garden”.

Colonel Burch noted that it is all part of “this Government’s goal to encourage more Bermudians to get into farming”.

“The education of basic Bermudian food growing techniques that must be shared in order to sustain the culture of growing food seasonally,” he said.

“Sharing can promote and develop community gardens that can assist in meeting the needs of the less fortunate in our community.”

The programme, led by Chaplin Kevin Santucci, runs for six consecutive Thursdays, free of charge and once signed up for the advance class, “they are assigned a plot of land” to “grow and maintain their own garden”.
“I recognize that this cannot be accomplished by one Ministry alone so I am delighted at the continued collaboration and partnership of government and non-governmental agencies,” said Minister Burch.
“I applaud the agencies that are working together in the GROW.EAT.$AVE initiative the Ministries of Public Works, Health and Home Affairs, the Bermuda Agricultural Group, BELCO, Animal and Garden House, Pacheco Farms, Willing Workers, The Devonshire Seventh Day Adventist Church, Well Bermuda, the Bermuda Dietitians Association, Crown Landscaping, Brighton Hill Nurseries and the Bermuda Agricultural Group.
“And of course this couldn’t happen without the support of our Overseas sponsors True Leaf Market of Salt Lake City Utah a subsidiary of Mountain Valley Seed Co. All these entities working together demonstrate the power of unity in our community.”
He also noted that “since the programmes’s inception” more than 300 participants have graduated.
“The success of the program is due in no small measure to the unwavering commitment and dedication of Chaplain Kevin Santucci – whose passion for farming is well known throughout this entire community,” the Minister added.
“Thank you Chaplain Santucci and all those who have had a hand in making this a success.”
The Minister also reiterated the Government’s “commitment to expand the community garden concept across the island”.
On that note, he said: “I am delighted to report that we will shortly be having two more coming online one in Southampton being led by a husband and wife team and another just around the corner from here being spearheaded by MP for this district Michael Weeks.”
Additionally, he said: “I have also tasked Wedco in the west and BLDC in the East to participate in this initiative by identifying areas under their remit that can be used for community gardens.
“We continue to investigate other government lands that can be used for this purpose.
“So let me congratulate all those graduating this evening and wish you well in your planting futures and encourage you to invite others to engage in this most worthwhile exercise.”