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Students’ website plants seeds for Bermuda food security

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A class of Berkeley Institute pupils learns about food security at the AgraLiving Institute in preparation for launching a website connecting the public to food resources (Photograph supplied)

A high-school class has joined the fight against food insecurity and launched a website connecting the public to food resources.

Pupils from the Berkeley Institute created the Bermuda Lunchbox, a directory of food charities and farming resources, after six weeks of research and website design.

The website went live last Monday and hopes to strength people’s access to food.

Owen Thompson, 16, said: “I can speak for everyone when I say we want this website to help people help themselves out of food insecurity.

“Human beings should learn at least one new thing whenever they get a chance.”

Planting new seeds: a team of Berkeley Institute pupils launched their own website to connect the public to food resources and combat food insecurity on the island. Pictured, from left: Daniell Simons, Owen Thompson, teacher and project co-ordinator Diamond Outerbridge, Amiyah Anderson, Ira Thompson and Daezjha Talbot (Photograph by Sékou Hendrickson)

Bermuda Lunchbox gives a summary of different food resources and a link to its social media and websites.

Organisations are separated into free services, charities, private businesses and resources that are completely online.

It includes delivery services and food drives, as well as resources that show how to grow and forage for produce.

Daezjha Talbot, 16, said that he and his classmates put together the website as part of a class project to learn about the causes of food insecurity and potential solutions.

He said that the class, led by their teacher, Diamond Outerbridge, visited the AgraLiving Institute in Devonshire to learn more about the concept.

Daezjha added: “One of the things we learnt was that people keep planting the same things on the same soil, which sucks up specific types of nutrients that other plants need.

“It’s not getting cycled back into the soil so plants are just dying out and that affects what kind of food is available for us to eat.”

Chris Faria, the founder of AgraLiving, shows Berkeley pupils the science of gardening (Photograph supplied)

Amiyah, 16, said the class decided to build a website because it was the most accessible way to get their information across.

She added that it offered easier services for those who struggled financially or had problems with mobility.

Amiyah explained: “If people are struggling to get food, they can go on this website and look up different food resources.

“It breaks down the amount of money things cost, so people who can’t afford that much food can see the cost.”

She added: “People who can’t really make it to the store or are rushing can use things like Sargasso or Pronto on the website.

“Even people who are on quarantine can use it.”

A class of Berkeley Institute pupils learns about food security at the AgraLiving Institute in preparation to launch a website connecting the public to food resources (Photograph supplied)

The class conducted in-depth research on each food resource almost every day, and made note of everything from cost to internet presence.

Daniell Simons, 16, said the research took at more than a month to complete.

She added: “We went to grocery stores and took notes on who would likely go to these stores.”

Owen said that the most fascinating thing he learned about through the project was that food insecurity affects others disproportionately based on social factors such as race and accessibility.

He added that a lack of food was had always been a problem and was even weaponised in the past.

Owen explained: “Frederick Douglass talked about how food was used as a weapon by making enslaved people fight over it or force them to drink so they wouldn’t be able to escape.”

Owen’s brother, Ira, aged 14, said that he hoped the resource would inspire others to grow their own food.

He said: “In the past we actually had a lot of farms, but today we don’t have that many.

“This could be a push towards people saying ‘hey, I want to start a farm, so that if the cargo ships don’t come we’ve got some way to eat’.”

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Published May 30, 2022 at 8:03 am (Updated May 30, 2022 at 8:03 am)

Students’ website plants seeds for Bermuda food security

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