TOCO has launched its latest enrichment program - TOCO Permaculture, an all-encompassing program that uses the benefits of permaculture to address the nutritional needs of children across the Caribbean. TOCO Permaculture will focus on 3 specific initiatives – TOCO Permaculture School Garden, TOCO Permaculture Community Garden and TOCO Children’s Public Park.
Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture draws from elements of organic farming, sustainable development, and agroforestry to create self- sustaining and durable land use and livelihood systems.
The George Charles Secondary School in Southern Castries, St Lucia will be the site of the pilot program for the TOCO Permaculture School Garden. The school garden will support a sustainable and nutritious, ‘home grown’ School Feeding Program to provide a healthy lunch for 100 children who cannot afford to buy food and come to school hungry and unable to learn. The school garden will produce annual vegetables, fruits and other tree crops in a ‘food forest’ system that will be designed and implemented based on permaculture principles to ensure sustainability. A permaculture based school garden and ‘home grown’ School Feeding Programme will thus help to maximize local reliance (not donor dependence) and ensure economic, social and ecological sustainability in the long term.
The TOCO Permaculture Community Garden will be designed to create a permaculture demonstration and training centre that will allow for the demonstration of and training in permaculture and sustainable building for farmers, youth, agriculture extension staff, community members, international students and other stakeholders; community development and outreach as well as the development of eco-tourism in St. Lucia.
Finally, the TOCO Children's Public Park will be a park and playground that will be open to the public and landscaped using permaculture design. The park will unify children, community and a healthy environment.