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Trinidad and Tobago: Naparima College promoting agricultural innovation

In a true example of community spirit, the young men of Naparima College have been growing produce at their school to provide fresh garden greens for students-in-need, as well as neighbouring homes for the elderly.

In a statement, the Digicel Foundation said their small-scale efforts were rewarded last year when the school's Interact Club won an Extraordinary Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) grant of $100,000 from the Foundation in partnership with Shell Trinidad and Tobago to expand their solar-powered vertical hydroponic garden.

On April 23, the Naparima College Interact Club unveiled 10 newly installed SolarPonix units to the media and major stakeholders. The SolarPonix is a mobile hydroponic unit that uses climate-smart, green technology to monitor crop growth and moisture, therefore reducing water wastage. Additionally, the grant covered the cost to install solar panels to power the units as well as the school's entire science block.

As part of their EPIC project, the Interact club members donated two SolarPonix units to the nearby JC McDonald Home for the Aged and the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities. The youth helped with the installation, provided training to the residents and staff and shared knowledge of the science behind the farming system.

The next step for these eco-minded students is the launch of their own Green Market in June – 'Naps Market'. "By hosting Naps Market, we will help strengthen our local food system by addressing issues of food security and malnutrition while promoting sustainable agriculture, health and wellness throughout the community," explained Bryan Balkissoon, President of Naparima College Interact Club Junior.


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