By ELIZABETH GREEN & NICOLE HURBAN
When was the last time you chose fresh produce over a McDonalds burger for lunch? In the United States, we as a society have become accustomed to a fast food way of life. In Belize, it is quite the opposite. Because of their non-commercial culture, they would much rather eat fresh, homegrown produce rather than processed and premade meals. The horticultural society at Cumberland County College experienced this first hand while on a service learning trip to Belize in the summer of 2013.
Through agricultural sponsorships, the students in the Horticultural Society at CCC were able to raise the money to enrich their education and experience a whole new culture. The sponsorships helped offset the costs of airfare, transportation, and lodging. The trip was open to all business, agriculture, and horticultural students. Dr. James Price and Professor Maurice Sheets of the agricultural department led the excursion.
During this trip, students saw what it is like to live off the land. “I saw no fast food places in Belize. All the food consumed is very pure and freshly grown,” says Price. The group’s main focus was to construct a greenhouse or “netting house” that would resist the large amount of insects as a result of the extended rainy season Belize experiences. The students worked closely with an elementary school in Burrell Boom, Belize. While there, they educated the community about how to farm year round with the aide of a greenhouse. They taught two classes; one class on the study of soil and the other on different insects. It built a very positive relationship with the school, since students taught modernized commercial culture to them as well.
In the near future, the agricultural department plans to go to Belize again. During the winter break of 2014, January 4-11, Price and his students will visit the whole country of Belize. They plan to visit the Mayan Ruins, San Pedro, Palencia, and Pandora Window Box Nursery. Working along with the University of Belize, they hope to learn even more about agriculture through another culture’s eyes.
If you are interested in being a part of this step toward building lasting partnerships in agriculture around the world, email firstname.lastname@example.org and contact the Agridemic Forum, an agricultural club on campus open to students of every major. It is a great way to broaden your college resume, your cultural experiences and your outlook on a healthy lifestyle.
This service learning newsletter was written by students in the EN-231 (Journalism/Newswriting I) class and designed by students in the EN-241 (Publication Layout & Design) class.