Schools in Suriname grow vegetables in nursery houses made from plastic bottles

PET bottle nursery house. Image: via UNDP
Agriculture

Eight thousand discarded plastic bottles were repurposed in a sustainable agriculture project that involved four primary schools in the Commewijne district of Suriname:

This project titled: “Everyday food: Growing Vegetables No Matter What Weather” educated the children in protected agriculture by providing nurseries constructed from discarded PET- bottles. This made the community aware of how to reduce plastic pollution by re- using PET-bottles for other purposes. The designer of the nurseries and member of the Foundation, Mr. Julio Nasoem, explained that each greenhouse required two thousand PET bottles, making it a total of eight thousand discarded PET bottles put into use for the construction of the greenhouses. In addition to the nurseries, four rain water tanks were installed at each participating school.

During the eleven months of implementation, the participating schools oversaw three sowing cycles where chili peppers, Chinese broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, and mustard greens were harvested. With the assistance of farmers from the surrounding communities, over 170 grade 4 and 5 students, along with their teachers intimately cared for the plants from cultivation to harvest. The students learnt about climate smart cultivation, plant care and irrigation, harvesting and marketing of produce, and environmental management. Special sessions on gender and agriculture were also held to demystify gender roles of male and female student participation in agriculture.

The students’ exposure to sustainable, climate smart agriculture continued as they were allowed to take one plant home in order to gain more experience in cultivation. Schools benefited from the outreach as, during the second sowing cycle, the surplus was sold to parents and members of the community with funds being used for the upkeep, maintenance and sustainability of the nurseries.

Read more in this report from the United Nations Development Programme, which supported implementation of the project. 

[Image: via UNDP]

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