Ricardo Richards Elementary School (RRES) embarked on a garden project in the 2015-2016 school year. Today, the project consists of 11 box gardens that boasts a variety of fresh, organic produce, including lettuce, egg plants, tomatoes, kale, bokchoy, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, bell peppers, pigeon peas, papaya, yam, pineapple, celery, parsley, chives, cilantro, lemon grass, basil, mint and turmeric.
Gardening is done Monday through Thursday by a dedicated garden club of 60 members, ranging from grades second to sixth, according RRES Garden Club Advisor Claudia Eugene. “Students, water, plant, weed and harvest when the need arises. A great deal of the produce has been handed over to the cafeteria staff to be incorporated and served as part of the school’s lunch menu.”
On Wednesday March, 22, the RRES Garden Club, along with a number of other St. Croix schools, participated in an Open House hosted by the Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Virgin Islands Department of Education in observance of National Agriculture Week. “There, a large amount of our garden produce was sold,” Ms. Eugene said. “Since students found this activity fun and educational, they are longing to participate in the Farmers’ Market at the La Reine Farmers Market very soon.”
Ms. Eugene extends special thanks to the people who helped the Ricardo Garden grown, as well as well as her students' interest in agriculture:
Mrs. Vanessa Forbes of the Cooperative Extension Unit of the University of the Virgin Islands; Mr. Frederick Miller, a parent local farmer who worked from the inception of the project; Grantley Samuel, owner of GLG Farms; Mr. Chitolle, who supplied soil; Mr. Schuster, who supplied manure; Mrs. Velda Hendricks, St. Croix district director of agriculture; as well as parents, faculty and staff of the RRES family, especially the Garden Committee and the young Ricardo Richards Garden Club members.